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2008/05/31 Up Montebello to Skyline and Ridge Winery
π 2008-05-31 20:46 by Merlin in Exercising

Jennifer and I went biking up Montebello Road from home, via Stevens Creek Reservoir. It was a reasonable 2800ft climb which took me about 1H to ascend (I'll have to time it more carefully next time).
Although it was a sunny day, the top was foggy, windy and cold, which wasn't that pleasant on my sweat (it actually got quite cold and sucky on the fast ride down due to the relative wind. I should have taken a jersey/light jacket).
At least, it was cool: it was my first time not only biking up that high, up to Skyline, and from home no less :)

At the top, I looked at what the options are so that I can come back, and do a longer ride with Xav up to skyline and down to Stevens Canyon or Pagemill.

On the way down, Jennifer and I stopped at the Ridge Winery for some tasting (well, tasting was mostly for her :) )












A few more picts
2008/05/24 Reno Fernley Raceway
π 2008-05-24 09:09 by Merlin in Cars

Bonni had her yearly event at the Fernley race track again this year. Unfortunately, she moved it a bit earlier in the calendar, and we ended up having freak bad weather there. The first day, I only got one dry session (rain in the morning, and then they shut down the track in the afternoon as mud and small rivers went across the track.
Sunday wasn't forecast to be better, but by mid-morning the track was actually mostly dry. Unfortunately, I only got one session and a half before I ended up climbing in a burm, which in turn caused some kind of tire failure and a flat (pinch flat maybe?), putting an end to that day.



My new shiny brake kit upgrade






double hole


In hindsight, that weekend was pretty much a waste of time and money, but hindsight is 20/20...
A few other pix... , a video from a wet session , and a video from a dry session
2008/05/23 To fly, or not to fly: crossing the Sierras to and from Reno-Fernley
π 2008-05-23 08:59 by Merlin in Flying

Flying to Reno-Fernley went fine. I had been watching the weather since there would be chances of thunderstorms there, and the weather was overall cloudy. That aid, the ceiling was forecast to be broken around 8000ft MSL (4000 AGL) there, and it only showed mild precipitation here and virtually no winds over the Sierras (although with a cloud cover).
I figured I'd give it a shot head over there and see how things were. Since it wasn't overcast but just broken, I figured I wouldn't get stuck above high ceilings and crossing wouldn't be that bad.
Turned out to be right, there were some extended stratus like clouds, nothing convective looking and I was able to cross Tahoe without problems between a couple of cloud layers (avoiding precipitation). While the temperatures were definitely freezing at the 14,500ft I climbed to for a nice smooth ride between cloud layers.





It was a good time to use the Samsung Q1U I had just bought, with Seattle Avionics Voyager , my new Electronic Flight Book solution. It definitely has potential, but I ran into connectivity bugs, software bugs, and I'm still learning to use it. Nonetheless, when I get everything ironned out, and after a few missing features get added, it should be a very nice replacement for my Garmin 496.





Once on the other side, I was ready to shoot an ILS into Reno to get under the cloud layer, and then fly under the ceiling to Fernley. Turns out the broken ceiling was still half broken and not overcast, so I was able to get down with no problems and finish on to Fernley and land by the race track.
While I had the de-icing just in case, I never had to use it.






After a so so weekend at the Fernley raceway (due to weather), I was supposed to fly home, but the current and forecast weather were just horrible: widespread mountain obscuration, thunderstorms, and icing as low as 7000ft. Oh, and flying on top was not really an option as the tops were forecast to be over 20,000ft. It's kind of an ever changing 3D maze for which you don't have the map, and where the maze might close in front of you and behind you.
I kept looking at my weather displays and forecast to see if I could make it. I think I found a plan that could have worked, but with possibly changing weather, but quite frankly "could have worked" wasn't good enough.




this is an idea of what the weather looked like over the Sierras the previous evening

and the time of intended departure (red arrows shows the one spot of sun I was in (greyed out = clouds over the Sierras), and where I was supposed to go back to)


First, I was thinking about spending one more night in Fernley and just fly back the next day, but forecast for the following days weren't that good either, so I ended up cutting my losses and riding back with a fellow coworker who was also at the track and will pay the club to get the plane back when they can.
Just for fun, I played the "what if" game and pretended to be flying over Hwy 80, following the road under the clouds, and in some places it would have been really dicy as I would had to fly 100ft over the road, or fewer...
Needless to say that I'm happy to come back by car, although now I'm trying to get the plane back...
The other pictures ...
2008/05/17 Ubuntu, what the fsck is wrong with you?
π 2008-05-17 23:41 by Merlin in Public

Since Ubuntu Hardy had just come out, I figured it was a good time to upgrade my laptop and mythtv server to the new version (the rest of my machines still run straight debian, and I just apt-get install stuff on them from testing without ever doing apt-get dist-upgrade).
Since I'm not totally stupid, I upgraded my laptop first and things pretty much went OK (X broke, but that's because of my unsupported ATI firegl 5200 chip, that required the fglrx binary only driver at the time.

So, I decided to upgrade my mythtv next. I figured I might have to fix up a few things after the mythtv 0.20 to 0.21 upgrade, but things couldn't be so bad, could they?
Well, what actually happened is that my server never rebooted after I upgraded the kernel. Ok, no biggie, I wait to get home and see what's up, and what was up was that /dev/sda1 would mount, but none of my other partitions (/usr, /var, and others) would mount: e2fsck said the partition was busy, and /bin/mount refused to mount the partition because it was busy too.
WTF? They were not used in /proc/mounts, or anywhere. I was quite stumped, and debugging without /usr or /var wasn't fun (BTW, thanks debian/ubuntu switching from one crappy editor in /bin: ae, to another crappy editor: nano. What a lot of crap, just compile a small minimalistic vim or other vi clone and put it in /bin already!
Anyway, after much searching, I found out that the problem was due to evms. The upgrade helpfully removed my lvm2 scripts and stuck evms in there. Not only that, but they forced me to switch to evms!
But it gets better, the evms init script makes the partitions busy and prevents mounting them from their normal location (/dev/sdax) and forces the use of /dev/evms/sdax , unless you a using a non standard kernel patch that isn't in my kernel.org kernel.
And I love how the fix that is typically given is "apt-get remove evms" when that, in turn, removes lvm support and screws me over too...
To the geniuses who thought it was ok to pull that kind of crap: you suck. I don't care if it was somewhere in the release notes, you can't just force me to switch to evms, break/remove my lvm scripts, and depend on a non standard kernel for me to be able to see and mount my regular partitions and my lvm partition.
You cost me several days of myth downtime, lost shows, and therefore have blood on your hands!
And I don't care if evms is great, it's not the agreed upon future of linux, so forcing people to switch in a non revertable, non compatible change is just wrong on too many levels!

Ok, now I can focus on fixing what broke/changed in mythtv 0.21...
2008/05/13 Ongoing Stupidity of Airline Security
π 2008-05-13 12:42 by Merlin in Public

So, Jennifer and I flew to Chicago during the weekend, and for reasons that are a bit long, I didn't have my driver's license with me.
Not to worry though, I knew that for a local flight, licenses or IDs were not actually required to travel within the US.

At the checkin, I showed them a copy of my real license, which they could have looked up by number, but they have no way to do that. I also had a real copy of my old license, which had expired driving privileges, but was still a perfectly good ID.
Why expired driving licenses aren't good IDs if the picture matches, is beyond me...

Anyway, I got the SSSS (special security screening something...), and the sole security guy at SJC proceeded to inspect every single pocket of my scottevest jacket while complaining to me that had too many pockets and too much stuff (he actually missed a couple of pockets).
Then, he started working on my backpack and asked me "is it as bad as your jacket?". I told him yes, he started and then just gave up because by then he had backed up the security line for 10mn.

So, outside of the fact that going through all this when I actually had a fully legit but just expired ID, and a copy of my real ID that they should be able to look up, is pretty sad.
Where they failed is that I was going through security with Jennifer, we had a combined ticket, she didn't have the SSSS, and they didn't search anything on her even though she was with me the entire time.

On the way back, it got worse though: we showed up a bit earlier at the airport (Chicago/ORD). Since I was somewhat annoyed that the previous guy emptied all the carefully sorted pockets in my scottevest, I just gave my jacket to Jennifer, I got the SSSS again, the guy barely looked at my backpack and couldn't look at my jacket since I didn't have it with me (not that he would have bothered apparently), and I went through.
Then, it occurred to me that the only reason I got SSSS was that they had written SSSS on my printed at home boarding pass. Next time, I can just print two boarding passes, they print SSSS on one, and I show the other pristine one at security.

Seriously, this stuff is just a joke!
2008/05/03 Bike Ride around the house towards Skyline and Fremont Older Space Reserve
π 2008-05-03 10:52 by Merlin in Exercising

Since we now live pretty close to the skyline mountains, we went to bike to the Stevens Creek Reservoir, which happens to be the source of the water that flows down in our backyard.
From there, we first went up Montebello to 1500ft or so, and around a private road, through some wineries, and road called peacock drive with actual peakcocks on it, and then we went back down around Stevens Canyon, Mt Eden Rd, through a winery, and through Fremont Older back home (Fremont Older was somewhat challenging without a map, it had trails that split in all directions. Thankfully my GPS and trails I premapped was good enough to get us home as the sun was setting.



The Stevens Canyon Reservoir is only 15mn biking distance




we went to visit a winery on the way up Montebello




We biked 1000ft up Montebello (which was only half way), and it made for some nice views


One of many wineries we biked by




Ok, it was a bit too much uphill for Jennifer's taste :)


And we headed home through Fremont Older Space Reserve



The other pictures from Fremont Older and the Stevens Canyon Reservoir

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