Thursday, December 30, 2010

A thanksgiving Turkey

A thanksgiving Turkey, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Wowo! Two posts in a day. This makes up for the infrequency of posting, and the age of the photos (doesn't rhyme with breaking news).


Snow?!, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quote of this particular day

Courtesy of Fuego:

"Never take 'no' from someone who is not allowed to say 'yes.'"

Okay, Dell, if you care so much, could you show it?

Live posting of Dell support call
This is an update to this post, which you might want to read if you haven't already.
I had to call Dell again last night, since the last calls have been duds, in terms of services rendered. Last week I’d called and been told that at that time I couldn’t get things fixed until I called back later. The next call left me on hold for over two hours before my phone died. Later, I called again and was told that I already had an order being shipped, so I shouldn’t be concerned with things taking a while. These were all after I’d learned through @DellCares on twitter that my order had been closed out. Last night, lacking anything better to do, I banked on getting a shorter wait time by calling in the evening on a Sunday with less call volume. After listening to the scratchy message warning me that the conversation may be recorded, I realized that I might as well live post the events to Facebook as they occurred. Below are those posts.

Why do technolgy companies have the most inept, backward telephone support systems, with almost non-existent online support?

Argh, the warranty expired while Dell and FedEx were busy screwing up, so now they want me to pay for the part and to ship it as a new order!?!?!?!? WTF!?

Off hold! Now I won't have to pay for their mistake!*
*But I may still have to pay shipping costs for the part that never got here before I can place a new order.
Ooops, did I say something wrong? Back to hold.

Ooh goody, back to a human. And he's going to do me a huge favor. In the light of past mistakes, and considdering that I'm probably not going to be here past this Wednesday, I'm going to get basic ground shipping, but I won't have to pay for it.

Oh. shit. Ground shipping means five to eight days.

Okay, they understand my situation and they're going to work with me… by keeping my order with the slow shipping. The slow shipping that will get the part to me as much as a week after I'm not here. But I'm being reassured that they emphasize(!) with me.

Okay, back to hold [sigh]. He's going to talk with a supervisor again.

He came back again for a little while, this time he said was going away and that he'd try to work with the supervisor, explaining to the supervisor that I'm not going to be here.

And he's back. No deal on fast shipping, unless I buy the extended waranty. Except that this call would be happening before the extended warranty goes into effect, so I'd be going back to paying for Dell and FedEx's fuck up. Dammit people, please!

So I asked to speak to the supervisor to see if he'd have to ability to help me further, but I was told that he's not available at the moment. Is it just me or is that a little screwy?

So I checked now to see we could change the address to the place I'm going to be, but I'm told that it has to got to the address of the first call.

But that was the whole problem! They shipped the fisrt one to the wrong address! Let's see if I can "re-correct" my address to where I'll be…

Nope! no changing addresses again. Shit.

So the call just ended. I'm going to call it a draw, since I didn't in the end have to pay for the previous service call that they screwed up, I didn't have to pay for the current call that resulted from their screwup, and I didn't have to buy an extended warranty to fix the fact that the regular warranty expired while they were screwing up.

However, I still won't have the part for another week, and I'll only have it then if I break up all my holiday plans to go home to see my family. Dell, I don't think I'm going to willingly buy from you again, unless you can demonstrate that you've taken actions to not be full of so much suck.

I really wish I got paid for talking to Dell's support line, cause I would have made bank. I have spent six hours and twelve minutes with them during five different calls. At twenty dollars an hour that's one hundred twenty four bucks for my time.

So, yeah, that’s the story. I’m still frustrated and I still don’t have the replacement for the AC adapter that fell apart. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ah, time for a PB & J

I might be taking things a little too seriously. The post below reads somewhat like an abstract.

One key of the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich is the balance of jelly peanut butter and bread. If you have too much or not enough of one ingredient, the enjoyment curve goes down (Figure 1).

So I happen to have exceedingly thick, tasty bread at the moment. It's a good thing, but I ran into a problem assembling a PB&J. When I increased the amount of peanut butter and (more importantly) the jelly to compensate, it became an unmanageable (though tasty) mess. The jelly is not viscous enough to support a thick deposit within the sandwich structure without squirting disastrously. This traditional structure shall be known as Mark I.

So I tried an experiment: Walls of peanut butter surrounding the lake of jelly. Well, the first couple bites of the Mark II sandwich were good, however the experiment did eventually fail since eating the PB walls rendered them useless. Back to the drawing boards.

Mark III was less than successful, results wise. I mixed the thicker PB with the jelly, to try to stabilize it. However, warmed by the toasted bread and thinned by the jelly, the entire mixture was too runny. More research needed.

*** Update***

Another day, another shot at perfection. Tis time for stabilization, mechanically! For background, it seems that bananas would be logical for this use. They have a solid form that can easily be sliced and shaped, however they also liquify under moderate pressure. That means they'll blend with teh jelly in every bite when the sandwich is bitten. Importantly, bananas also have a mild, sweet flavor that will not adversely effect the affect of the sandwich. 

The bananas were implemented into the Mark IV without much difficulty. Cut into long stringers, arranged to form a border and placed paralel with even spacing within to prevent jelly movement worked moderately well. However, it is recommended to eat into the sandwich in a more perpendicular direction to the stringers. Doing otherwise could still cause forceful jelly evacuation from the structure.

At this point in the research it should be noted that I've consumed my entire supply of crunchy PB; however, reserves of smooth remain.

The Mark V is like the previous sandwich, but taking the change in PB into effect by adding some crunch in the form of crisp julienned apple. I used the same initial structure and layout as the Mark IV, but then added a healthy dose of apple. The random layout of the apple, especially as it was pressed into the jelly/banana matrix had the added benefit of increased stabilization. 

The Mark V sandwich is fully successful in solving all design proces problems encountered in the Mark I sandwich. While accomplishing its goals, the revised sandwich adds non-traditional ingredients that may or may not meet widespread approval in the wider PB&J community. On the other hand, the Mark V also does not comprehensively examine other potential ingredients for utility in structural stabilization. These issues need to be explored in further research.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Soft, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

A photo from a while ago, for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Open letter to Dell and FedEx.

The following was originally to be a Facebook post and Facebook messages to the pages for each of the companies. Unfortunately, according to Facebook  (although not in so many words), I'm too verbose. So this becomes an open letter tucked away on an obscure, quite blog in a corner of the internet. 

Dear Dell and FedEx,

I'm just letting you know that you are on my shit list have left me feeling disappointed with your services, all due to the complete lack of regard for customers and inability to fix simple problems with your products and manage your services.

Dell customer service gave me a great initial promise once I got through to a person: for a problem on a Sunday evening, I'd get a replacement for the crappy part on the power supply that broke by Monday afternoon, or Tuesday morning by the latest. I explained that I would be leaving town Tuesday evening, but you reassured me that I'd long have the replacement by then.

Monday went by without an appearance from FedEx, but I wasn't too concerned. Tuesday, I'm home all morning, and into the afternoon. Not a peep, no delivery trucks ever came down the street. By five thirty I was on my way to the airport with a messy hacked together attempt at a replacement power supply that worked about as often as the original (not always enough to keep a netbook running). Thursday comes, and I get a call from FedEx that my address doesn't exist. After a correction (rhymes with "yes, there really is a building there…,") and placing a hold for six days, until December first, everything seemed to be okay.

I get back in town and settle down to wait, watching the tracking widget for that magical "on delivery vehicle enroute to destination" notification, but it never comes. A week later, here I am, here it isn't. The tracking still says "in transit."

Now that the ticket is closed (why…?), it appears that I must go through the entire tedious ordeal again, including an hour and thirty five minutes on the phone with the most infuriating hold music before I even have the chance to run through a boatload of troubleshooting steps that do not apply and will not apply to this situation. Next I'll be shunted from one person to the next, and I'll be spending most of my time repeating the the exact information I gave the first time.

Patiently waiting,

P.S. Also confusing are all the service numbers: the Service Request Number is not the same as the Service Tag Number is not the same as the Service Call Number is the same as the Dispatch Number is not the same as the Airbill Number which is the same as the Tracking Number. Got it?

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Snow, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

It's a white thanksgiving!


Scratch, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

I've got the coolest little cat. His name's Scratch, and he likes to eat bugs.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So, where's this huge TSA issue?

At Sky Harbor, through security in less than five minutes. 

I had half a moment's chat with a TSA employee, she hasn't had any issues this week, but she has had plenty of puzzled travelers. I came through a little early today so that I could get through without hassle, but it was business as usual, even on the eve of the busiest day of the year.

People next to me looking at the sunset out the window. Only average by AZ standards, but still spectacular. The natives seem rather jaded, taking beauty for granted, ignoring it.

Thinking about getting some munchies, since I have an hour and a half.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Pink, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.


Mailboxes, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

One more in the "Apartment" series

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Explore, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Cool shot from campus

Monday, October 11, 2010

I wonder how many of my posts have the word "update" in the title?

I've been moderately busy for the past few weeks. My last post was on my twenty-first birthday, but I assure you that that hasn't had anything to do with my absence from this corner of the internet. I'll be resuming a more regular stream of photos sometime in the next week.

The past few weeks have been filled with some school, some sailing and a lot of fur. Scratch has grown to be a regular cat, complete with seemingly limitless energy and shedding fur. There have been quite a number of moments of cuteness overload. ASU sailing has started a productive season so far this semester, but after being hampered by the loss of our practice venue, we've lost most of our funding. On the other hand, I've got five more fingers. We have a new coach, and a chance of getting a sponsor to help financially, and our lake will be reopened ahead of schedule.

More to come later,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Fridge, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

New Series: Apartment Photos

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shutter speed wheel

Shutter speed wheel, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cartel Rapping

After hours, odd things may happen at the local coffe spot.

Including myself trying to rap. My original lyrics are forgotten, but I recorded what I could remember below.

I went to Cartel where they had a little party/
I took a moment to remember Marty./
They asked for a rapper but I ain't that dapper/
Anyway I grabbed the mic like I was riding my bike/
"I sure as hell ain't Bobby G/
I'm Gerald B, the EMT./
Here I am, Tempe, Arizona,/
I'm gonna save you, when your in a coma./
Heart attack, call 9-1-1,/
they dispatch me to have some fun./
Hook up that old EKG/
'Oh my god, look what I see!'/
Pack you up for the helicopter,/
We're gonna getcha to the doctor."/
That was my rhyme,/
but I ran out of time./
Remember my name,/
'cause it's part of the game./
Please take a moment now to observe,/
the people who are a-willing to serve,/
keeping you alive whether you deserve/
saving your ass when nobody swerves./
Paramedics come; they don't take you home,/
they start the I-O into your bone./
Poor boy stopped breathin',/
His heart ain't beatin'/
A-L-S, come compress his chest/
So he can look his best/
On his wedding day,/
so he can pray,/
"Thank you God for EMS."/
But now of course, I must digress/
'Cause its the fire fighter who opens your car,/
to save your skin from being charred,/
and the nurses at the ER,/
that respond when they hear you crashed your car/
who kept you from being another denizen/
stuck in the world of sin./
Oops, you totaled your Mercedes,/
We'll keep you outa Hades./
Please give us thanks,/
'cause we ain't makin' bank/
This shit is dank and I'll be frank,/
the life is hard; it sure ain't easy/
no one says it'll be breezy/
Don't get queazy with all the bleedin',/
Just a little patch and that's all you're needin'./
Next time you have trouble,/
remember to thank the gentlemen,/
who pulled you outa rubble,/
just to save your precious skin./
I'm Gerald B, it's been a pleasure,/
thanks for listening through my last measure.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Chunk of the Top Plate

A Chunk of the Top Plate, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Here's tonight's photo, looking at the top of the new body.

Almost revelation

Almost revelation, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

One from last night

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another look…

Another look…, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.


Texture, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

So that I may be lazy, but still keep some interest alive, I'll be releasing a number of photos of a surprise. Go ahead and try to guess what it is (most accurate guess gets a pint of homemade ginger beer (pickup only)).

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A new page, and security

I've been following blogs in my family for a while now, and lately, my Uncle Jer's been dealing with a few security issues on Muddled Ramblings. I just followed through and created a GnuPG key for signing and/or encrypting my email, just to keep The Man off my back. So that this will work, other people need to get onboard and start using keys. Also, said people must be willing to share and sign trusted public keys. To further that end, I've uploaded my key to the servers and created a page here for my public key, so that it can be used.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thanks and Memories

As the title suggests, I want to thank Juli for giving me so much furniture. I'm now quite a bit closer to a home as opposed to a hovel; the bookshelf, bed, desk and chairs rock, and they make the place feel much less empty. Scratch loves the fact that he can jump over everything. I'll probably be getting even more from her soon. I'd still like to get a kitchen/dining table, but that's lower priority now that we've got a start on horizontal surfaces.

Onto the memories: I was going through my old molskine notebooks (they aren't that old, I got my first one a year ago) and I found myself surprised at what I've done, and what's happened out in the world since I started writing. I'd set goals at one point, several of which I met, but also several that seem further than before. Despite that those have been forgotten for nearly a year, I'm still disappointed in myself. Last year, I was even berating those who don't live what they want to live, those who have failed themselves. I wrote with vigor, anger, passion and even love, but now those passages seem securely hidden, trapped in their pages, bound by leather, waiting for me to follow with action.

I had thoughts on school, but I only met a few of my goals there.  Despite the turn of events, I know I probably could've done better.

My largest group of thoughts was on my wolf project, which never even left the ground.

After all that, and looking at why I met, or didn't meet my goals, I realized that I'm somewhat aimless, attacking ideas haphazardly, without thought on what I was doing or even why I was doing it. I wrote statement below after finishing the first book and reflecting on what I said.

–From now on, I will do what I need to get done for myself and for others, with integrity and justice; I will follow with what I want to do to further myself and my understanding of this pale blue dot; and I will do my best to hold myself to my conscience, my means and my expectations.

It's vague, doesn't say anything about time, and this statement has nothing to tell about how I can get things done, but I feel that this represents the best realization of a personal mission statement. I took some time to adequately say what I meant.

P.S. I just want to mention that I've gone through a couple pens now. The one thing that would mean quite a bit to me these days is a good fountain pen. I don't really want something too expensive, and there are a number of acclaimed pens in a rather moderate price range.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Searching for Furniture

So I've moved into my new apartment in Tempe. I've lived in it for more than a week now, and I'm really starting to get tired of the empty, furnitureless volume of space around me. It's relatively well laid out as studios go, which doesn't help it feel any more occupied. Anyway, the point is, any Arizonans with spare/extra/unwanted furniture, please get ahold of me. All you have to do is post a comment with some means of getting in touch with you. I'm looking for shelves, chairs, sofas, dressers, futons, tables, stools or whatever else you want off your hands.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scratch That, I'm in Arizona Now

A general sort of update

I just looked back at what I've posted lately. To the outside world it must look like I've been doing a whole lot of nothing worth mentioning. Rather a lot has happened, however, so here goes.

Scratch! I went to an REI sale last month, and just when I was feeling good about all the good deals I just got, I had to walk by the City of Albuquerque's mobile adoption site. I got tapped by a little kitty with thumbs who wound up coming home with me. It also is looking like I may have bought the last bag of litter Scratch will ever need. The little guy has taken well to learning how to use the toilet.

Arizona! Yeah, I'm in the desert now. Scratch and I moved into my new apartment a week ago. It's not too big, but it has a good layout for a studio. I didn't move with any furniture, but I'm getting there. I'm trying to stay in a minimal budget, but that can slow things down a bit.

Sailing! Last Saturday the ASU Sailing club participated in an event called Passport to ASU, which is for clubs and organizations to introduce themselves to prospective members. We, for the first time ever, brought a trailer load of boats out to be highly visible and attract a number of new people.

School! It goes forward, as I'm enrolled and in a full load of classes, including a couple art histories, photography and a color studio that are all major requirements.

So, that's the big exciting news. Stay tuned for pics; I should have things up Thursday.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Boom, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

I haven't posted in a while, I hope to make up for that by posting something spectacular. It's a good thing the weather's cooperative this time of year. Check it out in full size.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Bacchanal 2010 map

Bacchanal 2010 is coming up soon, so here's the map that includes lots of little bits of info on how to get to the lake, and about the things that will be going on.

So first, here's the link: Link to Bacchanal 2010 map.

Now here's the embedded version:

View The Bacchanal of 2010 in a larger map

Sunday, July 18, 2010

To Counter Yesterday

Something Positive

After reviewing yesterday's post, I realized that I was kinda negative. Anyway, yesterday evening wound up okay (rhymes with nothing superlative and nothing terrible, not the author's literary laziness) and we went to the Shroyer Center bluegrass barbecue. 

At the moment I have a warm purring cat on my lap competing with the warm purring computer. Too bad it's 85 out and I really don't need the extra hypothermia protection. Note: a feline toe pad is much more accurate than a human fingertip on the touchpad.

The weather's been interesting, and I got some shots that may be stereo worthy. Stay tuned for details on this and other photo projects.

Good news form ASU: They finally figured out where they put my paperwork, found it, passed it through to the proper channels and signed off on things. The proper people have "recommended [the request for compassionate withdrawal] for approval," which should mean that I will be forgiven a significant amount of debt, and allowed to register for fall semester classes.

One last thing: I only have two block exams and a final left in my summer class at the UNM EMS Academy. In two weeks I get to sign up for the next available state test, on October 2nd.  Also in two weeks, I get to sign up for and take the National Board examination that just about every other state recognizes for licensing (rhymes with getting myself a job in Arizona).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sailing, sort of.

Today I tried to take out the only boat available to me right now: the MacGregor 26, Syzygy. It's an old, "fine sailing machine," if you don't actually want to sail.

My dad hasn't exactly spent a lot of time with that boat lately, and the time he has spent on it hasn't exactly been the most beneficial to its long term health. The wiring has never been good, but after my dad stepped through our solar panel that kept the batteries charged, the batteries died. He doesn't want to replace them, but he wants me to get the system working again. Also, we've had problems with the stereo. A few years ago the stereo burned out, starting a small fire on board. Since then, we've had the wiring replaced a few times, but that hasn't helped too much: the stereo still has issues when the engine is running.

That brings us to the next fine piece of equipment on the fine sailing machine: the engine. It's an older Tohatsu 9.9, but effectively it's more of a 0.0. It sometimes runs, but only if it's taking you toward disaster. Otherwise, it counts as deadweight. We've replaced every single part on the engine at some time or another, but that just made our wallets thiner.

Now that we've covered the secondary source of propulsion, lets move onto the primary propulsion: the sails. These sails are great if you happen to be a bat: they make nice nesting places, and they already have enough of that guano smeared in to smell like home. They even make a decent place for a bat to die without having to worry about remains being eaten by insects. Unfortunately, those attributes aren't the best for using the sails as sails. These soft, floppy, blown out, torn up bits of canvas mark best of twenty years of aging in the sun. Of course, along with the old sails go old lines. Old stretchy halyards the droop in the slightest zephyr are accompanied by shaggy sheets and other powder filled cordage.

So we set sail at the dock (the motor just wasn't in the mood) and take off. We start tacking out the Narrows, but the shifty winds and 120 degree tacking angle make that difficult. Halfway out, the wind kicked up, and made life rather more interesting (rhymes with, "Why isn't that BLEEEEPing thing working now!?") as the roller furling on the genoa broke and the winches jammed. At this point we fall off, jibe (mainsheet fiddle bearings on the cockpit floor) and start heading back. Once running, the furler started working again, so we furl the genoa in, since we don't need extra power now. The motor really doesn't want to start now, but with the wind in the west we've got a dead downwind shot at out slip. We cop a spin, drop the main and sail in under bare poles. By the time we were done, I could see a person at our slip, so I assumed that the dockmaster was going to help us land. Just then the furler let out six or seven feet of sail, and in the confusion I lost sight of the dock.  As we got the jib back in the wind shifted to the southeast, blowing us straight back, away from our slip. We could've thrown the line to the dock, but there was no one there now. Now we force the jib back out, and we try to sail up wind back to the dock where the dockmasters let us go. Without a mainsail, the boat will not tack, and there it takes a long time and space for it to jibe. It turns out that it takes too long for it to jibe. We wound up on the north shore of the cove, and we were held there while the weather built into a thunderstorm right on top of us. There wasn't much to be done, except to try to use the VHF radio and talk to the folks at the marina. The radio died right when they tried to come back, so we wound up without communication beyond air horns.

Eventually the wind died down a bit, and some samaritans came and towed us off the shore. our stern was further out, so we tied on there. Unfortunately, we found out that the centerboard line that was repaired over the spring, hasn't been repaired. I moved the tow line to the bow, and we eventually swung around and out. Getting to the slip at that point was relatively simple.

I have found that while I have some aptitude for boat repair, I just don't want to deal with the glorified bleach bottle that is the MacGregor. I also have little tolerance for things that have been repaired that don't work, and for things that really shouldn't be breaking that break. On top of all that, I was told that all systems were go, and that there would not be any issues. That is the single thing that annoys me the most.


Syzygy is for sale.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Another General Life Update, brought to you by…Caffeine!

As mentioned in the last post, I'm still working out how to get some software from the disks it ships on to my disk-driveless computer. I have a Mac that has a drive but is gradually fading because its hard drive is dying. I have a PC that has a disk drive, but no network to use the drive remotely, and no means of creating a disk image on a flash drive. Also, we've got a laptop with a disk drive that runs Vista, but it also won't burn a disk image, and seems to be incompatible with using the drive remotely. I'm almost think of going to the Apple store to use one of the display machines to copy the DVDs. The other option would be to spend a little dough on getting a compatible external drive. I'd really like to hear any ideas or suggestions from the audience.

In other news, I found out today that my mail to the post office (change of address form) got lost in the mail. Irony or just bad luck?

Stay tuned to the Flickr gadget, new uploads will be coming online soon. Good news is that these are all going to be straight from the camera, no tweaking. Bad news is that these will all be straight from the camera, no tweaking.

Stereo, It's not Just for Music

I'm still getting the new computer to be the full clone of the Air, which means that at the moment I'm still without some of the software I've been using in the past, like iPhoto and the rest of the iLife suite, along with the whole Microsoft office for Mac suite. The issue I'm facing is that the software comes on DVD, and that this computer has no disk drive. I have an external drive, but it's only compatible with the Macbook Air, which isn't even staying on long enough to copy the disk images to a USB drive. The downside of not having the software is that it's harder to do some tasks, and that I got behind in my photo loading. the upshot is that the Mini has a built in SD card reader, and that it handles data much faster than via USB cable to the camera.

This photo is from last sunday, after I was in Los Alamos for the weekend. We drove back to Albuquerque via Highway 4, through the Valles Caldera and down through the Jemez mountains.

These stereo pairs were shot out the window as we rolled down the highway. We were traveling at an approximate speed of 35 mph for this set, so shooting at four frames per second give a spread of about 12'10". I cheated a bit for the web resolution sets here: I just used quick view to  put the images on the screen with a black background and then I grabbed the screenshot.

As usual with the stereo pairs I post, these are best viewed by crossing one's eyes until the two images merge into one. Let your eyes relax and fall into focus,

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good News, Bad News

Good news: The Dell mini 10 v is working, for the most part.

Bad news: My real mac has a failing hard drive. Meh.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A new post, after weeks of moderate busyness

It's been several weeks since my last post, and I've been neglecting the blog and you readers out there. 

I've been keeping myself busy with an EMT class I'm taking at UNM School of Medicine's EMS Academy. The course is rather fast paced (it's sixteen weeks of material in eight weeks time), but it has enough hours to qualify me for passing the state EMT licensing exam. The downside being that I spend twenty-four hours a week in class and more doing homework and studying.

The other thing is of course my little photography habit. Now that I have Sputnik, and I can develop 120 format black and white film, I'll have to get a good set of shots with it, test reverse developing, and mount and view the slides. At the moment all I need to get is a reverse-developer, a slide viewer and slide mounts (and a little spare time to get everything together and do it).

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Lunch in Pagosa Springs, Dinner at the Lake

Lunch, as you can see, was decent, neither great nor bad. The french fries were actually pretty good, though the burger was on the greasy side. Even though it's Pagosa, the place had green chile, so the  burger had chile on it.

The rivers in the region are running high with the snowmelt and a little rain from the recent systems moving through.

We pretty much went straight to the lake after our trip, and we got back in time for the NMSC Memorial Day potluck. There were quite a number of people there, so things went over well, with burgers and hot dogs provided by the club, and a whole smorgasbord of sides, salads, desserts, breads and so on. Food and a ton of skipped rocks made for a pleasant evening, finished off quietly around the Koch's campfire.

Overall, a decently decent day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dock Duty

Just got back to reality* from a day (and night and day) of work docksitting at the NMSC marina. John was with me, but there was only one sleeping bag on Syzygy last night, so I wound up using a spinnaker. It wasn't too bad, but it's not going to be first choice in the future, at least until things warm up a bit. So, a number of boats came into the marina for the season, and we also leased a couple empty slips on short term rentals. We had a couple ladies in a pontoon boat come around noon, but they were rather inept at boat-handling. After bouncing around a bit, they managed to get to an end-tie with damage done to only one other boat. Ah well, too bad there aren't more boating safety classes around the area. These two really need it badly.

We cooked beer can chicken for dinner. Thank you Coors for letting us cheat in our roasting skills. Without your brew, our bird would have been burnt and desiccated, fit only for carp feed.

*I think I just left reality at the lake. It seems much simpler when all you have to worry about are inept pontoon boaters running around your marina.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bye bye 'Burque (for the weekend)

We just drove to the cabin by the lake now, and unfortunately I've got really strong 3G here, so I'm online. Unfortunately, I say, because there's a whole lake here, with moonlight and boats and potential for sailing and all that, but I'm facebooking my time away. Mebbe we'll get that in tomorrow night.

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Just traded some moonlight sailing stories, so that may be tomorrow evening's activity.

P.S. I haven't forgotten about geting last weekend's photos up (actually, I may have forgotten, but you, dear readers, don't need to know that).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Weekend Update (Minus Seth Meyers)

Last weekend saw the end of a road journey, a trip to Heron, some boat fixing, an attempt at sailing, a rescue of the rescue boat, and a seized AC compressor.

I returned from Tempe Friday afternoon/evening/night/Saturday morning. I left Tempe, got an hour out of town, when my radiator clogged and ceased to function in the 98º heat. It cost less to install a brand new Performance Radiator than to do a flush, so the Gila Monster now has a brand new radiator, installed by a mechanic in the village of Rye, Arizona. The delay cost me some time; I drove through the night, taking a nap on the shoulder of Highway 60 somewhere near Datil.


I arrived in Albuquerque around seven, where I unpacked from my move. I threw together a lake bundle, then took off to get John, Wolf and a Frontier green chile cheeseburger for breakfast and a trip to Heron. We took the back way (photos to be coming soonish), and did some touristy things in the area. After visiting the New Mexico Sailing Club marina, the bearings in the compressor seized up, keeping the vehicle from running. When my folks got into the area, we transfered stuff from the Jeep to my Dad's truck and went to the cabin for dinner. John choose seasonings and Wolf helped cook an awesome meal of Pan-Seared Petite Sirloin, Tarragon-Dill Mashed Potatoes, Bacon Gravy and a salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette.

After sleeping in, we cooked a breakfast of Pain Perdu (rhymes with French Toast) accompanied by Biscuits and Bacon Gravy. Then, we launched Syzygy (rhymes with alignment of three or more heavenly bodies). After fighting the wind for ten or fifteen minutes, we got to the marina. There was a lot of wind, so we played poker on the boat (remind me to get the chips (and cards) back up to the lake this weekend). My Dad called an auto repair/towing/salvage company, and I went with the Gila Monster into Chama while Wolf and John stayed at the marina. It turns out they had much more excitement than I did. The dockmaster had noticed a little water in the NM State Parks' Ranger boat, but it was dismissed as just rain water. A while later, there were five more inches over the floor in the cockpit of the boat. It was sinking. John and Wolf got to it with a pump and buckets, while Dockmaster Steve got to work trying to find the leak and stop it. It turns out that the State Parks person responsible for the boat forgot to put the drain plug in. The boating enforcement officer might want to review the safe boating class. After a while, it was found that a wine bottle cork was just right to make a good plug. So much for the no-glass policy; it looks like the Marinas's got an unofficial agreement again. The boat was rescued, just in time for the ranger to get it out  of the lake.

We drove back to ABQ Sunday evening, excepting Pat, who stayed behind for the week to do his dockmaster duty.  As of now the Jeep's at the mechanic, but the repair should be straightforward and done soon (rhymes with my hopes and expectations). Tomorrow (rhymes with Thursday) evening we'll be heading back up, so this is a shout out to anyone who wants to come on up. Pack a few nights of clothes (we can do laundry) and send me a ring, text, email, im, etc. There will be sailing, food, a cabin with a fireplace, fun times, friendly people, hiking, being lazy, beer, food, and most of all fun.

Edit: Added photos.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Typing drool

I'm being reminded to update this blog. It's been a busy day, so plaese excuse my typing drool*. My day started Friday at eight in the morning. It is now Sunday, around one am. Long day, jeep breakdowns invloved in long road trips. First, near Payson, AZ, radiator clogged and failed. I pulled over before serious overheating, but I had a major delay in getting a tow, getting to town  and buying parts, then getting the mechanic for Galvin towing to replace the radiator, thermostat, hoses and stuff. He did a good a job, and it cost less than a regular flush at a major shop in the town.

I got back on the road about midnight. Got into Burque about seven. Unpacked from the move, cleaned out the Gila Monster, picked up a couple friends and we hightailed it out of town, towards Heron Lake. We too the back roads, explored the area, saw the sights, and experienced the crazt high winds that rocked the lake area. After a full day, it was time to head to the cabin. The Gila Monster had (has?) other plans: the AC compressor apparently seized up, freezing the engine in place for now. After my folks got into the area we secured the jeep in place, and took off to the cabin for dinner (rhymes with steak (sirloin), awesome mashed potatoes (taragon, dill, oregano, garlic) and bacon gravy. Oh yeah, you read right, bacon gravy). So, tomorrow gets AAA, a tow perhaps, mebbe even forward progress. We'll see.


*Typing Drool: When the blog author feels so tired that typos are left unmended, leaving satins of interest across the page, like drool on paper.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This is a summary of the past eight days: 1400 miles (màs o menos), 28 hours sitting behind the wheel (mehr oder weniger), and I'm back in the same place I started from. I did use the high ground clearance and heavy duty suspension for a chunk of that driving. I have stuff to do here in Tempe (rhymes with landlord not believing in 30 days notice), but I have to try to get back to ABQ in time for Marty's memorial service.

I need some personal time for photography, look for that sometime in the future. I need to figure out if I'm moving back into the parent's for the summer. I need to figure out where I'll be working.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Got back into 'Burque tonight. Spent the last two days at Elephant Butte. It didn't really hit me until just now; the last days have been surreal. Even though my good friend and sailor drowned Saturday, I was able to calmly load my jeep and drive out to New Mexico. I was fine for talking to other friends and people at the lake. Everything down there was so composed, almost even casual, that the events never registered.

 I don't know why, but it seems like they just don't get it. The man fucking died. He's dead. People were not taking it seriously, including myself. It felt like the only way to cope was to act as if nothing to serious happened. I don't want to blame people for that, they need to do something.

I've known this man for years. He's a devoted sailor, always ready to crew and game for just about any weather. He persevered through years of fixing his boat. The changing seasons may have started to weigh on him, but he's just gone in an instant, off the boat and sinking down into the cold, murky green lake.

I'll be back, and I'll dedicate every white russian I pour to my determined friend.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

At the lake…

I know this is unexpected, but I'm in New Mexico. A friend and sailor died Saturday in an accident on Elephant Butte lake. The officials haven't released his name, so I won't either. He was a very dedicated sailor, always ready and willing to go out. He died sailing, doing what he loved.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Lake pano

Lake pano, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Here's a long skinny picture. It's awesomely great to see it in full size.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Facetime – One from the Archives

Facetime, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

I was looking at last year's shots on my flickr page, and this one caught my eye.

Now to the present: today I replaced my leaky valve cover gasket with a new one. What a mess the top of that engine was. There were bits and globs of mud and oil residue all over the place. Some of the bolts were completely hidden by gunk. Anywho, it took about an hour and a half to get the valve cover off (I should remind the viewers that I have very limited mechanical experience), but it only took half an hour to install the new gasket and replace the cover. After that I had time to look at my brakes (they've been soft and spongy) and I found that the reservoir return was clogged. Apparently the brake job I just got at a brake specialist shop was not the cleanest. New fluid, pumping and then bleed solved that one.

After all the grease monkeying I still had time to shower, cook lunch and get to the lake at three o'clock to help the Arizona Sailing Foundation teach their Tuesday class. The wind was there, light at first but building throughout the afternoon. Average conditions were around twelve knots, gusting as high as twenty and lulls around eight. There were more instructors than students, so there were two 420s with students and two Capri 14.2s with adults. There was enough wind that even the 14.2s could really get moving. I was out hiking my butt off on a 14.2, so I'm pretty hungry. Dinner comes soon.

It was awesome.

Sunday sunset

Sunday sunset, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.
This is what today feels like, visualized.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Visitor Count Update

I just noticed that I've passed the three thousand visitor mark. What a showing, I've had a relatively steady number of visitors, but I do see more clicks in when I post more. Visitors 3,000 and 3,001 were both google, so 3,002, from Albuquerque, you are my winner. If you can email me and establish who you are, I'll supply you with one bottle of Blue Brew Ginger Beer. I don't know yet if it's shippable, but I'll get it to ABQ somehow/time soon. I bet that's a surprise, you didn't know there were goodies involved, did you?

Hey! That's Me

Hey! That's Me, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Sometimes it feels that I'm so busy running motorboats, chasing down strays, corralling mayhem and all the other chores of teaching sailing that I never get in the boat myself. Fortunately, there was enough time and there were enough instructors Tuesday that I got to hop in a boat for a while and turn the camera over to Red, who shot from the committee/chase boat with my camera.

I just loaded a few stereo pairs like this to my flickr page, so go, check it out.

Chute Out

I also have stuff in what we'll call normal, like this.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lean Back

Lean Back, originally uploaded by Gerald5970

For the 4-20 special, I've got photos from my 4-20 activities. Yeah, I was on a 420 on Tuesday, and things felt great. What an awesome day. We flew the kites on both boats, and there was enough wind some of the time to get them nice and high, completely filled. We were demonstrating the trapezes, or the traps, but there wasn't quite that much air in the sails, so ballast was used. At first the the traps were too long, but we shortened them to get the crew higher. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taking Off (Stereo)

Taking Off (Stereo), originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Check it out!

Monday, April 19, 2010


All kinds of fun, all kinds of boats
At the dock

I sailed this weekend, which actually was a bit surprising given all that was going on. Saturday was the Arizona High Schol Sailing Sate Championship. It was hosted by the Arizona Sailing Foundation and sailed in Capri 14.2s on Tempe Town Lake. Winds were light and shifty, so we pulled off five races. I was on the mark set boat, and I got a number of photos, which should be here in a very short time which are now here, and on flickr.

Start that Race!

The racing ended just in time for me to get to ASU sailing practice. Practice was very low key, so we practiced man overboard person in the water drills (yeah, that one apparently fell to the sword of anti-sexism). Practice in light air is pretty challenging and unproductive, and things turned into a game of piracy.

Yesterday started early in the morning with a 6:30 pick up to get to Lake Pleasant. Larry also picked up Red and another crew, so we had a full truck. When we got to LP we dropped off Red, who was sailing on a Thistle, and we got to rigging the Merit Bonne Chance. By the time we got to the race area, the wind had already dropped to a pretty low level, but we started to race. We were sailing in the PHRF Spinaker fleet, but we were the only one, so we started with the non-spin boats. Through the dying wind, we managed to fight our way up to the windward mark. Much to the surprise of the boats who thought we were in their non-spin fleet, we poped the chute and took off downwind. Well, I imagined that we were taking off downwind, but it was a drifter of a day. Unfortunately, it was so light that we were still a long distance from the finish line hours after the start, so we scrubbed the race and headed homeward. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lake pano

Lake pano, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

This is what I'm up to. This panorama took a while, but it really shows what the area below Tempe Town Lake looks like these days. Each frame was a 10 second exposure at f11. It is worth your time to look at the full size image at Click the picture, then once you arrive at the flickr page for this picture, click on "All Sizes", which appears above the image.


Part of me doesn't really want to do this, but lots of reputable people are doing it now, so it's not too tacky. 

I'm adding a Paypal button up there in the sidebar. It looks like this: , and it goes to a secure page where you, my dearest readers, can contribute to my projects. There's even an instruction line you can use if you want your contribution to go to a specific use.

Here's a little reminder of what I've got going on right now.
  • Wolf Project: I need about $800 total to buy a used 400 mm f 2.8 lens and about $600 for a multi-band ham radio transceiver. The lens is big, but tough and in good shape. The radio I am most interested in is a Yeasu FT 817ND. It is a QRP (low power) unit that covers all modes in all frequencies from 160 meters up to 70 cm. It looks like the perfect all around portable radio.
  • Gila Monster: I don't need a lot in this category, but I do need to do a brake system flush, and I need to finish wiring my solar power system. And of course I'm paying for any gas I use driving, plus the costs of insurance.
  • College: This is the biggie. I'm hopefully going to be enrolled in classes pretty soon, and hopefully I'll also be an in state resident as per tuition requirements.
  • Living: I'm looking for a domicile for next fall, so I'll needing to pay rent for my room and the cost for my board.
Now, I'm not trying to make my case for welfare. If you know of any places in Tempe that just might look for a hire, drop me a line. If you know of someplace a ways form Tempe looking for a hire, drop me a line. I'm willing to travel a reasonable distance, especially for experience.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stereo pano

Stereo pano, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Yeah, it's not stiched, but I cropped a pair of stereo shots to produce a panorama. The camera was still, so the background is flat while the boats stand out. Check it out at full size, with as much monitor space as possible. Those of you with huge iMacs really luck out.

Stereo crop of Stereo

Stereo crop of Stereo, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.
Yeah, this one's good. It's very good. Go look at it,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stereo towards the stadium

Here's a stereo pair. It really is worth your time to look at the full size on my flickr page. Same goes for the panorama. It is also worth your time for the other stereo shots.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pano from Coor Hall

Pano from Coor Hall, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Gotta stay entertained somehow.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Stereo Engine

Stereo Engine, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

I shot out of the plane window as I flew over New Mexico and Arizona. I took screenshots of the stereo pairs, and here they are. This one wvwn get the engine, although it wasn't moving and it looks flat. I know I haven't updated in a while, but here's a token.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Waiting in an Airport

This last week's been a little hectic.

Last Tuesday my Grandfather passed away, so Wednesday I flew to McAllen, Texas, to meet my parents and prepare for the funeral. I flew Delta, and the experience was not particularly outstanding. The crew, although professional, was about average for any airline I've flown, and the seats felt just as cramped and tight. The only flight to McAllen (rhymes with MFE) flew in from Memphis (MEM), so I had to leave Phoenix (PHX) pretty early to make that connection. Memphis is for the most part a little bit above average, the concourses are clean, shiny and bright, and there was a good BBQ restaurant that was serving most of the airport customers.

Friday was when we had the funeral. My grandfather requested a simple graveside service, so we didn't have a viewing or a large church service. The weather was as perfect as it could be, so I guess we can say that he had a good sense of timing.

My parents and I drove back to Albuquerque on Saturday and Sunday, so I spent yesterday with a few friends. Events are in motion for summer ideas, pending on employment and such. 

Right now I'm in a comfortable seat, enjoying the use of free wifi, courtesy of the Sunport (ABQ). Both of these things are very rare in my experience of airports, which ranges from Peking to Prague. My flight doesn't push back for another hour, so I have plenty of time left in this seat. I like the Albuquerque airport because it has style, which many airports lack, and it has substance, free wifi, comfy seats and a lot of light. 

This is the fourth airport I've been through in six days, but I don't see too many more in the immediate future. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

For Grandpa Byrnes

For Grandpa Byrnes, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.
The red, white and blue found in these flowers remind me of the service of my grandfather, Robert Byrnes, who passed away this week. He served in WWII. The weather right now in south Texas is incredible, and recent rains have triggered an explosion of wildflowers.

Paintbrush and Bluebonnet, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.
I wanted to make these stand out a bit, so I used a high pass filter and soft light. Next time I'll keep it more subtle, but that's another story.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Light and Coffee

Light and Coffee, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

Just something to gaze at and contemplate upon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hey Cox, you really need to fix things. Seriously.

Yeah, my neighbor wanted me to see what's going on with his internet. He is paying for a "up to 15 megabits per second connection, but he's not getting anything close to it. In reality, he's geting about 0.2 Mbps. We check with three different speed checking services, all with local servers in Phoenix, and we got times from 0.06 Mbps, to 0.45 Mbps. He's paying about $60 for a connection that's slower than my phone. Dude, stop ripping him off.

So much happening

It seems that the highs must be balanced by the lows

I've been experiencing an exceptionally good run in my life lately,with the ups triumphing over the downs. I got my ham radio license, and I even was able to push myself into the second highest class of license with some extra studying. I've made new friends and acquaintances, and my photography is being noticed by local businesses who want to pay for it. I'm moving forward with my wolf ideas, and I've applied for jobs with local companies and the National Park Service. 

Of course, as you may know by now, or have guessed if you don't, life is a whole mixed bag. At a quarter to three this morning I got a call from my dad. I know that it's not too unusual for my folks to call late in the day (rhymes with early in the morning), but I could tell right away that this was a serious call. Grandpa Byrnes died, and I was being given notice to get ready to head out for the funeral. I just spent some time doing some packing, and I'm going to be getting my stuff ready.

One of the things I remember the best is the way he would always have ice cream sandwiches in the freezer when we'd visit. It was always great to just sit and watch football together and munch on the ice cream bars. Thanksgiving has long been my favorite time of year because it's when our family would gather down in the valley. There would be the usual thanksgiving dinner, but we also had fresh fruit, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and fresh eggs for breakfast. We kids would run around until the sun had long gone down, while the grown-ups ate more food and watched the cowboys game.

I'll probably be in McAllen tomorrow, and I have no idea about what internet access I'll have, so I'll try to get what I need to get done before I go.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Check it out

I just logged onto the FCC's license search website, and I found my information in the database. Now I am an amateur radio operator. It's all fine and dandy, except I don't own any equipment. Meh. Anyway, I am KF7IPM out of Tempe, Arizona.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Saturday, originally uploaded by Gerald5970.

A teaser…

More Photos, More Coffee, More Sailing

To sum up this past week would sum up a good number of my interests: last Thursday was full of shooting coffee at Cartel; Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday had sailing (sometimes rhymes with drifting down the lake); today I have coffee while sorting sailing photos.


Saturday was a light air day and I wound up coaching and shooting from the motorboat. Meh. Sunday was breezy enough for the races, but things died by the end of the day. However, we did come close a few times to capsizing. No shooting. Tuesday, I picked up a gate key for the storage, and I went down to test it. The AZYC was just getting ready for their class, so I stayed to help with that. Almost no wind came, so it was miserable trying to fight the uncharacteristic current at Tempe Town Lake.


Since I shot both coffee roasting and sailing, I managed to keep the cameras busy. I've uploaded a few Cartel photos, but I still need to get the sailing shots up.


Between brewing coffee at home and tanking up elsewhere, my days have been caffeinated. I've been learning the aspects to good coffee and desirable practices in the buzz biz.

In the miscellaneous category, I took the amateur radio license exams to become a ham radio operator. I passed both the technician and general class exams, so I will be a legal operator as soon as the license data show up in the FCC database. The main reason I did this is that amateur radio is just about the only means of communication in remote areas away from civilization. Of course, it's one thing to be licensed, and another to actually operate. The bigest thing is that I need a transceiver in order to get on the air.

There's my update for now, this ought to be good until I get fresh photos online.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What I find when I wander

I was looking at the blog Strobist, which talks about off camera flash, when this post caught my attention. Next time I'm shooting I need to remember this and have a music playing device ready and charged.