Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mixed Bag


Camera bag by Tenba
Saturday’s photo-shoot was a “mixed bag”. I got me a cool camera bag to hold all my gear, it’ll even hold my lappy too, barely! So, the “bag” part was good. The “mixed” part was that after shooting a dozen and a half pictures of my 36exp roll of b&w film out on the streets of downtown Cowtown, it “jammed” or something and refused to advance. Felt like the sprockets slipped out of the tractors or something. I ended up having to just rewind the film and quit. We were pretty much done and heading for the car anyway, but still had planned to shoot the rest somewhere else. So, thinking my luck was not all bad, I stopped by my local Walgreen’s to see if I could go ahead and get it processed, only to find out that they don’t know how to process b&w film (it’s not “C41″ processing, the only type they know). So, now I’m going to have to hunt for someone to process it (I don’t have a darkroom). It was interesting being out shooting with just my “Super” again though, having to manually focus and all. The brings back memories!

My Linux upgrade has also stalled since I have not been able to add a windowmanager to the lighdm login menu – grrrrrrrrrr¡¡¡¡¡¡¡11¡1111. Unfortunately googling hasn’t helped much. I found what looked like the answer and created the 2 files it said and still, no joy. I used to wrestle with such things late into the night until I beat it into submission, but lately I have just lost interest in computer-geeky stuff like that.

Drinkin' Studin' & Mexican Food The Rain's Receding!
We had over 5″ of rain in a 24-hour period this week. I shot this the first sunny day afterwards while walking. I did not expect much but ended up liking this photo, I hope you do too.

<<<<<< Took this while out with a friend in Fort Worth Sat. Night. We found it amusing to see a place called the “Revolver Taco Lounge” located here and four collage-age looking women appearing to be studying while imbibing what looks like a bottle of strong liquor.

More Desolation:

The Obamanation Signs Global Internet Treaty Worse Than SOPA
by Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars.com, Jan. 26, 2012.
me:Meet “ACTA”, this IS worse than “SOPA”! I had heard about this disaster lurking around in the background and didn’t worry too much about it at the time because I understood it was a TREETY and that it probably wouldn’t make it through with the two-thirds majority approval required even in Harry Reid’s Senate, but, much to my surprise, the Obamanation has now tried to unilaterally and UNCONSTITUTIONALLY “sign” it into law. I don’t know why ANYTHING surprises me anymore? The “Victory” over SOPA seemed a bit too quick and easy to me but now I’m convinced that that was the “bait” and now this is the “switch”.

The Obamanation Orders Catholics to Act Against Their Faith; Bishops Call it ‘Unconscionable’
my thoughts: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer [you] in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of [your] hand, O king, But if not, be it known unto [you] O king, that we will NOT serve [your] gods, nor worship the golden image which [you have] set up.” – Daniel, 3, 16-18 (KJV).

In Lighter News:

Watch 30 giant hornets take out 30,000 honey bees (io9.com)Warrant needed for GPS tracking, high court says
by Jesse J. Holland and Pete Yost,
Associated Press, Jan. 23, 2012.
me:Hey, they got one right, score one for Liberty!

7-year-old’s heart-melting letter to Kyle Williams
me:Now that’s a good news story!

Some time-saving tips every Linux user should know

Word for the Day: Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) – noun: a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Quote of the Day: “Note to the younger generation: Always be nice to nerds! One day, you’ll be working for them! ” – Abel Gonzalez – friend.  - me:Yea Bro!

Cars are NOT Computers!

“Leaf” commercial: “What if Everything ran on gas?” ©2012 – Nissan      Is it just me or have car companies and their commercials totally lost their way?  A new Ford commercial the other day boasted that their car was “like driving a computer”.  Another from Cadallac starring Kate Walsh a while back listed a “40 gig hard drive” as one of it’s top selling bullet-points.  Another commercial for Nissan (video below), which I happen to love for the humor, is one that depicts a world where everything runs on gasoline EXCEPT their car.  The poor, silent car it is promoting is called a “Leaf”.  What kind of name for a car is that – a “LEAF”?!  Are there no “real men” left buying cars these days?  I prefer more inspiring names for cars, names with personality that convey power, strength, speed, or freedom such as “Marauder”, “Charger”, “Mustang”, “Fury”, “Fleetwood”, and “Grand Prix”.  Even the soul-less names typical of many German cars, like “320i” are better than that!  These are CARS we’re discussing, NOT toasters!  Cars have personality, cars make noise, cars go places, cars get dirty, cars (used to) make smoke and fumes, cars can help the owner present a particular image.  I must be a relic, but I don’t ever want to own a car that I have to “plug in”.  Heck, I’d have it plugged in and get in, “turn it on”, and drive off until it pulled the plug out with me either coming to a rolling halt in front of my neighbor’s house to see him snicker at me as he fetched his morning paper, or just keep going with a very long cord-tail twisting around behind me until someone turned and drove over it yanking me to a sudden halt – the automotive version of having your shoelace stepped on!  

      I don’t understand what’s so “green” about electric cars – you STILL have to BURN something and produce just as much smoke and pollution (more if coal) SOMEWHERE ELSE, since the anti-nukesters will never allow us to build the plethora of nuclear plants needed to provide enough cheap and clean electricity necessary to truly make electric cars “greener” and effective for widespread use!


me standing next to a truly beautiful and “green” car (that’s not mine)¡ :/
      I want a car that I can “START” and “turn over”, NOT one that I have to “turn on”!  I want an “ENGINE”, not a “motor”, that will roar to life when I twist a real metal KEY (not press a reboot button) and where I can feel that herd of horses under the hood chomping at the bit to muscle me onto the open freeway on one of our antiquated 60′ long right-angle freeway acceleration ramps and then cruse at the legal speed of 70mph up hills with power to pass the inevitable junk-wagon that always seems to be tooling along in front of you just as the road is about to narrow to a single lane!  I like a car to be SIMPLE, the LESS ELECTRONICS, the less to go wrong, the BETTER!  I miss the time when a high school dropout could fix your car, or you could at least hold it together with bailing wire until you could get to the mechanic, rather than the whole thing just instantly turning into a 1-ton boat anchor without warning because some “oxygen-sensor” or the “main computer” failed.  On my dad’s old car, the A/C compressor went out on the way home from a long beach trip.  He simply cut the belt off and we drove home without A/C and power steering.  Today, you would be stuck on the side of the road.  I wander now if my car’s ever going to “crash” suddenly on the highway with an invisible “blue screen of death” and just seize up right there in traffic?!  When I’m looking at a car, I don’t care about the size of it’s “hard drive”, I care about the size of it’s engine, it’s leg room, and it’s trunk size and it’s gas tank!  Am I old-fashioned or what?  The answer must be yes, because I even sorely miss those little triangle-shaped windows almost all cars USED to have.  Some of the older ones used to even have them in the BACK too (like this one)!  I even miss hood ornaments too and I love the swan that gracefully adorns this hood.

Back to Peaceful, Quiet, Normal

Finally, a quiet week this week, Kid’s back off to college, better-half is back at the office, and I’m back at work by myself here at the ranch! I just finished eating the last homemade holiday cookie here as I type. (Thank you Honey for the awesome home-baked cookies!)
I’m proud of the fact that I was involved in the largest internet protest ever this week by taking this blog down to protest the SOPA and Protect IP bills grinding their way through Congress as most bills do, sort of like making really cheap sausage. WordPress (this blog’s host site) was down for the day (Wednesday), but it was left to each individual blogger whether or not to take down their blogs. If you are not familiar with this pending legislation, you should be because it threatens the open frontier of free-expression that is the internet, the last such frontier left in the world. Here’s a good site, including a video, that explains this in more detail. It is really sad that so many of our Congress critters are bought and paid for by Big Hollywood, and that while we condemn censorship in China and elsewhere, we are so ready to practice it ourselves. It looks like the protest is starting to have some effect, several in Congress, and even the “Obamanation” appear to be backing away from it, but still, we’re up against a LOT of campaign $$$$$. I’m Just a [Bad] Bill” (Schoolhouse Rock)
Great video of “Dark Side Of The Moon” by Pink Floyd – Thanks, LDC for sharing! My roll of 35mm b&w film arrived this week and is now loaded in my camera ready for some serious b&w street photography, but I haven’t had a chance to do any yet, hoping to Saturday! This is the first time I’ve ever had any b&w film, having been doing my b&w of late using digital. I had hoped to buy some at the store, but was unable to find any, so, off to Amazon.com I went & got this 36exp. 400iso. b&w film.
I got the latest Linux installed on my lappy, but I haven’t touched it during the workweek because I’ve been too busy with my photos and enjoying the beautiful warm weather we’ve been having lately, to want to work on it in the evenings. besides, my current ancient Linux installation is working just fine, of course!
I did join a new photography hosting site this week: “Camera Enthusiast – (www.camera-enthusiast.com)”. It is mostly a Pentaxian-oriented site (I’m a proud Pentaxian myself), but is open to photographers of all gear. They are currently allowing free, unlimited photo space for members to create and display their work in albums! So far, it seems like a pretty cool site. I’ll continue to post work on my Flickr account, but will also contribute here too. On Flickr, my work is displayed in a single “stream” from most recent to oldest, but since it’s only a freetard account (I’m cheap, lol), it only shows my 200 most recent photos, which has been reasonable, but I’ve been shooting a lot lately, so now stuff that’s less than a year old is dropping off. Either I’m becoming busier, liking more of my shots, or else becoming more vain, lol! With this site, your work is automatically broken up into albums. There are also discussion threads and the members seem to be mostly serious photographers, both amateurs and pros. Still a lot of exploring to do.!


While my week was peacefully boring and quiet, my Stack-o-Stuff has filled up nicely this week, please see below:

Put Another Log on the Fire“, by Tompall Glaser
Found this song, from childhood after it came up in conversation as my wife was adding a log to the fireplace the other night.
WARNING:  If you’re a feminist, you won’t like it, but for rednecks & the rest of us, it’s a real HOOT, so enjoy!
This Week’s Stack of Stuff:

Interesting “Green?” cubicle walls!Courtesy(c) MTV Geek
Excellent WGET Tutorial

Good list of Linux/Unix networking commands

Ten Useful Terminal Commands for Linux/Unix users

Texas: Top State Senator Says Red Light Cameras About Money – me:Amazing when pols. openly admit what the rest of us serfs knew all along!

Quote of the Day – (Cuttin’ thru the BS):
“There are several common ingredients in how the left enlarges its control over our lives. The first is the selection of some aspect of reality — global warming, carbon footprints, population growth, inequality, diversity, for example. The second element involves designating the selected aspect of reality as a crisis. The third step is to explain that the only way to avoid Armageddon is by reducing everyone’s freedom and by giving more centralized power and control to those who understand the magnitude of the crisis. The rest of us are told that our freedoms are a luxury we simply can no longer afford.”
- “Special Report Now Playing: The Sustainability Con“,
By Ron Ross, American Spectator, Jan 12, 2012.

The Holidays are Over & the Nest is Empty Again.

      The holidays are now officially over, sigh. My daughter’s gone back off to college and I began taking down the Christmas lights outside an hour after she left (She did not want any of the Christmas decorations removed while she was here). It’s also when I clean out the gutters. This is the perfect time to do it because when I put up the lights in November, the leaves are usually still on the trees and the gutters are mostly clean, but by January, all the leaves have completely fallen and are filling the gutters. I decided this year to only take down half of them today and the other half the next time we get a weekend with decent weather. I left up the ones that I can see from the den windows!

      This was a rare beautiful January weekend weather-wise and perfect for getting out and doing some more b&w photography! I am currently intrigued with b&w and have been shooting around town and nearby countryside capturing some good rural and street scenes. I also got out and jogged and, as I mentioned earlier, spent a couple of hours taking down lights and cleaning the gutters.

      I got my calendar back this week too. I had submitted the twelve pictures I posted recently under “My Year in Photography” to Walgreen’s to make a 2012 calendar. They did an awesome job on it too! The only problem is that they apparently can’t make duplicates after you submit it in-store. They said to re-submit it online, which will save it!

      I ordered myself a roll of b&w film to try out in my ME-Super this week after not finding in stores. I’m interested in trying out b&w via film. Can’t wait!

      I also began the arduous process of installing a new Linux version on the extra space on my new hard drive, Linux Mint v12. So far, I’ve got it installed and my browser extensions and two custom fonts installed. I’ve installed some of my software and copied my /home directory over and got my Tk software, namely the E editor and JFM3 filemanager up and running happily. Suspend & hibernate are working, I still have a titanic amount of stuff to do, since I’ve customized and tweaked just about EVERYTHING on my existing system, including rebuilding the kernel to remove all the bloat! I’ve only spent some time in the evenings and late at night since it’s been too nice to not be outside during the day. The thing that’s got me stumped at the moment is how to add my Afterstep window-manager to the login session manager. It uses one that I’m not familiar with “lightdm” or something “gdm”-ish which I’ve never set up before. Anyone have any ideas? – please comment!!

      I did have one minor tech triumph today just before my daughter left. She was needing a M$-Word doc converted to PDF and could NOT do it on Windows, even in OpenOffice (she had ABANDONED Linux just before heading off to college). I was able to open it in Libreoffice and print it to a file (pdf) for her and send her on her merry way! She also introduced me to a new word today – “Sorastitute” – n: College-aged girl who is a member of a sorority who’s name contains Greek letters, lol!

Lunar Eye
“Lunar Eye” – Had fun making this one using a huge cedar bush & fiddling with the contrast!


Street photography on the Square in town.
Old Rugged Cross
“Old Rugged Cross” on Pearson Ranch.

Farm House
Lovely old farm house at Pearson & White Settlement.


Beautiful pond not far from me.


Today’s News You can Use!

Linux Kernel 3.2 Officially Lands in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS!

Secret and Hidden Codes for Android

10 Programming Languages That Could Shake Up IT

Email in your eye? Next-generation video screen glasses could lay messages or GPS over your field of vision

Why My Liberal Neighbors Aren’t Speaking To Me Anymore

Girl Scout, 14, Calls For Cookie Boycott Over “Radical Sodomite Agenda”

How to Clone a Dying Hard Disk

      This has been a hectic week.  Lot’s of stuff seems to want to go out at the beginning of the year.  First, my clothes-dryer element burned out, after lasting only six months, then a hot water element, that lasted a little over a year, and finally, my computer’s hard drive appears to be on it’s last leg.  Fortunately the hot water element is under a six year warranty, so I was able to call and get an auth. no. from Whirlpool and toddle down to Lowe’s and get a shiny new one freeeeeeee!  The fun part was spending my Friday night draining the heater with a Shopvac® & vacuuming out all the hard well-water deposits and replacing the (bottom) element.  We still had hot water, but just not very much.  I suspect the element failed awhile back, but did not become noticeable until the water became really cold due to Winter.

Cloning my existing hard drive that has both Windows-XP and Linux partitions:

     The hard drive did not completely die, but rather my system had crashed twice within a week resulting in fsck reporting numerous errors, such as lost inodes, chains, and duplicate references even though I shut down my system properly and the file-system (ext3) is journaled.  This tells me the hard drive is starting to go bad, so I did a quick routine backup of recent stuff and purchased a new, larger one right away and cloned it onto the new one (I had figured out how and done it once before a while back).  Fortunately with Linux this is duck-soup simple to do!  I didn’t hesitate to do this, since for one thing, the “dying” drive could become unusable at any time; and, I had been secretly wanting a new, bigger hard drive for Christmas, but had not gotten myself one then, after blowing my wad on a totally awesome new Tamron 90mm macro lens for my cameras (see what it can do)! :D

     All I needed to do was boot up with a Linux live-CD (so that the existing drive is NOT mounted), connect my new SATA hard-drive up via a hodge-podge cable kit to the USB port and run 2 Linux commands (shown below).  The only requirement is that the new drive be as big or bigger than the drive to be cloned.

WARNING: MAKE *CERTAIN* YOUR EXISTING DRIVE DEVICE-ID IS THE *FIRST* ARGUMENT TO ddrescue() ELSE YOU WILL WIPE YOUR EXISTING DRIVE!  He does NOT ask you if you are SURE!!!!!

     The 2 commands (run as sudo/root in a terminal) are:  (Don’t let the terminal scare you & please don’t ask me for a GUI interface!)

cfdisk -z /dev/<your-NEW-disk-device>            #This makes sure an empty partition table exists, I believe.
ddrescue -v /dev/<your-OLD-disk-device> <your-NEW-disk-device>            #This clones your disk.

     The second command will take awhile, so make sure your computer is on reliable A/C power (no thunderstorms nearby), and be ready to go off and do something non-computer geek-ish – I replaced my hot water heater element, lol.  For cloning a/b 230 gig of data, the second command took me about 2 hours.

     I then created logical ext4 partitions in the extra space in preparation for a fresh Linux upgrade install (when I have time), since I will want my current, WORKING, uber-customized Linux install to exist concurrently with the new install for a while until I get everything copied over and customized into a usable state! ;)  My plan is to eventually remove the old partitions and resize the new ones to include the space now occupied by the current ones, but, no hurry there because I have plenty of space for all of them.

     My one concern was how badly Windows-XP, on the first partition, would squawk thinking it was now on a different computer, which last time required me to “re-register” it online with Micro$oft using the sixteen-digit hex product code on the sticker underneath my computer.  This time, Windows booted up without a hitch, yay, which allowed me to fix the one hiccup that did occur – my system clock (local time) on the Linux side was an hour off, but I remember from past experience that booting Windows once will rectify this and it did!

     I’m now enjoying a new, faster, bigger, quieter hard disk – ymmv!

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