Monthly Archives: May 2005

Folk Life

This was the second day of the Northwest Folklife Festival (although the first day for us).

We woke up around 8am and got in gear around 9am. Quite a record for us.

Outside the hotel we found it was kind of chilly. Ginny assured me that it would get warmer soon enough.

We wandered over to the Seattle Center only to find that Folk Life didn’t start until 11am.

Oh well, we had some time to kill. Asked a few of the vendors if they were serving coffee yet, but none were.

We people watched for a while and one of the vendors actually tracked us down and asked if we still wanted coffee, because she was starting a pot. SOLD!

After folk life actually started up, we checked out some of the acts. We watched the Morris Dancers a bit, checked out some of the crafts vendors,

The weather got a bit warm, almost hot, and both Ginny and I were beginning to feel it. We decided to take a short siesta and come back later in the afternoon.

After a short nap we went back. Saw some more acts. We made a point to stop at the Northwest Court stage to listen to the sea shanties. As an added bonus, they were next to the beer garden, so both Ginny and I had a drink.

We listened to the Celtic music, which was pretty darn good. Some of the audience members started dancing. Two of the dancers stood out… there was a young girl, probably 13 or so, who was obviously a trained ballet dancer. She was quite good. The other person who stood out was this guy who obviously loved the music and was dancing a rather good Irish jig.

Around 7pm we decided to head back to the hotel. Kind of early, but we were both tired.

Along the way back, we passed by McMenamins on Roy street. When we looked in the window, we saw three or four musicians from Folk Life sitting in the corner booth playing their instruments. I looked at Ginny and asked “Time for one beer? She readily agreed.

We went in, grabbed some seats at the bar, and had some really tasty beer and listen to the musicians. It was fantastic. Ended up having four beers (barman kept asking us if we wanted to start a tab, but we always responded “No, this is the last one . It became a bit of a joke between us.

By the time we left there were about 50 musicians in the bar, all playing and singing. It was incredible.


Flew out to Seattle from Chicago. Nothing really special. Ginny ran late, so the cab had to wait a few minutes.

Unfortunately, in the rush to get into the cab, I forgot my long sleeve jacket.

Flight was kind of bumpy, but nothing extraordinary. I tried to snooze a bit, as we were going to arrive late.

We arrived, picked up the luggage, and went to collect the car. Since we had originally rented a trailblazer, which was bigger than I wanted to deal with, Ginny had downgraded us to a RAV4. I wanted something that had real 4 wheel drive and six cylinders (since we were driving in the mountains), so we re-upgraded to a ford explorer. This explorer, however, was bigger than any explorer that I remembered. Ginny and I figured that they had upsized the explorer since the last time we rented one.

We got to the hotel around 11pm (thanks to Fred) and checked in. Had some trouble finding a parking place at the hotel due to the size of the Explorer. Desk clerk gave us permission to park in a handicapped spot.

Roll my own

Microsoft’s MSN Spaces threatens to dominate with formal toolsets while others, like Blogger, hope to keep the technology’s pioneering spirit alive … However, with MSN Spaces, Microsoft is delivering a pre-set suite of blogging and complementary services on a platform that doesn’t allow for much manual tweaking and extension on the part of the end-user.

The battle for the blogosphere | InfoWorld | News | 2005-05-27 | By Juan Carlos Perez

This is one of the main reasons I like running my own servers. I can do what I want, when I want it, how I want it.

I’m master of my own ‘domain’, so to speak 🙂

I like open source stuff better anyways.

Another Interview

I just got off the phone with a reporter from iSeries Network … she wanted to talk to me about iSeries Blogging 🙂

I sure hope all this attention doesn’t go to my head.

[update 6/13/05]
The article was ‘published’ in iSeriesNetwork’s email newsletter: it can be found here.

Sump pump

In the past few years we’ve had more than a few violent rainstorms where we lost power.

Because of this, I’ve decided that a battery powered emergency sump pump would probably be a good investment.

Unfortunately those kinds of pumps seem to be kind of pricey. I’ve gotten quotes from $1200 to $1500 (installed) for an Aquanot pump. I also got a quote from American Residential Services (ARS), but it was $3000 to install a “Tranco” pump … but I’ve determined that ARS companies seem to quote prices that are about double what normal vendors charge and use products that are not normally supplied.

I’ve got a couple of on-site estimates scheduled (one today, another on Monday) so I’ll probably be deciding soon.

I figure that $1200 is more than it would cost if we ended up having a real flood, even with insurance.


Found this today … quite fun.

There’s no getting around it. At some point in your career, your patience will be tested with a stupid client who is so clueless that you’ll question your sanity, career choice, and the future of mankind.

You may have dealt with one already, one that just stuns you like a deer in headlights. Dumbfounded to utter anything but an “uhhh…”. Some clients have no concept of reality. They make up their mind, just to change it again to an even more hideous decision. And will end up blaming you for the mess. Can we honestly blame the client? Sure we can…

Clientcopia was created to give you an escape. Take joy in knowing you are not alone.

These are the voyages…

Eh … considering how much promise this season had shown, the series finale was pretty boring.

Tonight had two episodes … the 2nd to last and the last.

The 2nd to last episode was pretty good … good conflict, very good emotion, good action. I liked it. Not as good as some, but better than most.

The final episode, however … (spoilers ahead, don’t read more if you don’t want plot points revealed).
Continue reading

I want a new email program

I’ve used a number of email programs in my life … but none of them did everything I really wanted.

Here’s a rundown of the features I’d like a new mail client to have … and the products that currently support them.

Feature Like … Details
Message filtering Eudora File & modify messages as they are received based on any & all message attributes.
Display filtering   Let me choose what messages should be displayed based on any & all message attributes.
Powerful thread / conversation managment GMail Group all messages on a single topic together, including messages I sent, so I can keep track of conversations. One of my big gripes is having to search through my Sent messages folder looking for my own replies.  GMail does this quite well.
Open Source Thunderbird ’nuff said
Contact & Calendar managment Outlook Much as I hate to like a Microsoft product, they really have a well integrated package in Outlook.
Newsgroups Thunderbird & Outlook Express  
Centralized configuration storage Outlook I use email both at work and home … and it’s a pain to have to reconfigure the mail client any time a change one or the other. If the configuration information (filtering, etc) could be stored on a server, that pain would be eliminated.
Web access to server Outlook Sometimes I use webmail to read messages … sure would be nice if I all the above features were also available in a web interface in addition to a GUI.

So if anyone finds a program that does all those things, let me know.

Aircraft Humor

I’ve found a number of airplane jokes recently … here’s a list of what I’ve accumulated so far …


Tower: “Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o’clock, 6 miles.”

Delta 351: “Give us another hint. We have digital watches.”


“TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 degrees.”

“Center, we’re at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?”

“Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?”


From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: “I’m f ing bored.”

Ground Traffic Control: “Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!”

Unknown aircraft: “I said I was f ing bored, not f ing stupid.”


O’Hare Approach Control to a 747: “United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o’clock, three miles, Eastbound.”

United 329: “Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this I’ve got the little Fokker in sight.”


A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight.

While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, “What was your last known position?”

Student: “When I was number one for takeoff.”


A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.

San Jose Tower noted: “American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport.”


There’s a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running “a bit peaked.”

Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down.

“Ah,” the fighter pilot remarked, “the dreaded seven-engine approach.”


Taxiing down the tarmac, a DC-10 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off.

A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, “What, exactly, was the problem?”

“The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine,” explained the flight attendant. “It took us a while to find a new pilot.”


A Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the following:

Lufthansa (in German): “Ground, what is our start clearance time?”

Ground (in English): “If you want an answer, you must speak in English.”

Lufthansa (in English): “I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?”

Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): “Because you lost the bloody war.”


Tower: “Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7”

Eastern 702: “Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway.”

Tower: “Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?”

Continental 635: “Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern we’ve already notified our caterers.”


One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.

Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, “What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?”

The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: “I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I’ll have enough parts for another one.”


The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one’s gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them.

So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

Speedbird 206: “Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway.”

Ground: “Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven.”

The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: “Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?”

Speedbird 206: “Stand by, Ground, I’m looking up our gate location now.”

Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): “Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?”

Speedbird 206 (coolly): “Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark and I didn’t land.”


While taxiing at London’s Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727.

An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming:

“US Air 2771, where the hell are you going?! I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it’s difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!”

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: “God! Now you’ve screwed everything up! It’ll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don’t move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?”

“Yes, ma’am,” the humbled crew responded.

Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high.

Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: “Wasn’t I married to you once?”


In his book, Sled Driver, SR-71 Blackbird pilot Brian Shul writes:

“I’ll always remember a certain radio exchange that occurred one day as Walt (my back-seater) and I were screaming across Southern California 13 miles high. We were monitoring various radio transmissions from other aircraft as we entered Los Angeles airspace. Though they didn’t really control us, they did monitor our movement across their scope. I heard a Cessna ask for a readout of its ground speed.”

“90 knots,” Center replied.

Moments later, a Twin Beech required the same.

“120 knots,” Center answered.

We weren’t the only ones proud of our ground speed that day as almost instantly an F-18 smugly transmitted, “Ah, Center, Dusty 52 requests ground speed readout.”

There was a slight pause, then the response, “525 knots on the ground, Dusty.”

Another silent pause. As I was thinking to myself how ripe a situation this was, I heard a familiar click of a radio transmission coming from my back-seater. It was at that precise moment I realized Walt and I had become a real crew, for we were both thinking in unison.

“Center, Aspen 20, you got a ground speed readout for us?”

There was a longer than normal pause.

“Aspen, I show 1,742 knots.”

No further inquiries were heard on that frequency.


In another famous SR-71 story, Los Angeles Center reported receiving a request for clearance to FL 600 (60,000 ft). The incredulous controller, with some disdain in his voice, asked, “How do you plan to get up to 60,000 feet?

The pilot (obviously a sled driver), responded, “We don’t plan to go up to it, we plan to go down to it.”

He was cleared.


The pilot was sitting in his seat and pulled out a .38 revolver. He placed it on top of the instrument panel, and then asked the navigator, “Do you know what I use this for?”

The navigator replied timidly, “No, what’s it for?”

The pilot responded, “I use this on navigators who get me lost!”

The navigator proceeded to pull out a .45 and place it on his chart table.

The pilot asked, “What’s that for?”

“To be honest sir,” the navigator replied, “I’ll know we’re lost before you will.”


Overheard at Paine Field, Everett, Washington (site of the Boeing 747 and 777 plant). Taylor Air is a flight service at Paine Field. United Airlines was just taking delivery of a brand new 747.

Taylor Air: “Tower, there is a turtle crossing runway 18.”

Tower: “Roger Taylor 250. United 35 Heavy, you are cleared for take-off on Runway 18. Caution wake turbulence behind departing turtle.”


Here are some actual maintenance complaints/problems, generally known as “squawks,” submitted by pilots to maintenance engineers. After attending to the squawks, maintenance crews are required to log details of the solution.

Problem: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
Solution: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

Problem: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
Solution: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

Problem: No. 2 propeller seeping prop fluid.
Solution: No. 2 propeller seepage normal. Nos. 1, 3, and 4 propellers lack normal seepage.

Problem: Something loose in cockpit.
Solution: Something tightened in cockpit.

Problem: Dead bugs on windshield.
Solution: Live bugs on backorder.

Problem: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent.
Solution: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

Problem: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
Solution: Evidence removed.

Problem: DME volume unbelievably loud.
Solution: Volume set to more believable level.

Problem: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
Solution: That’s what they’re there for!

Problem: IFF inoperative.
Solution: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

Problem: Suspected crack in windscreen.
Solution: Suspect you’re right.

Problem: No. 3 engine missing.
Solution: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

Problem: Aircraft handles funny.
Solution: Aircraft warned to “Straighten up, Fly Right, and Be Serious.”

Problem: Target radar hums.
Solution: Reprogrammed target radar with words.

Problem: Mouse in cockpit.
Solution: Cat installed.

Problem: The autopilot doesn’t.
Solution: It does now.

Problem: Seat cushion in 13F smells rotten.
Solution: Fresh seat cushion on order.

Problem: Turn & slip indicator ball stuck in center during turns.
Solution: Congratulations. You just made your first coordinated turn!

Problem: Whining sound heard on engine shutdown.
Solution: Pilot removed from aircraft.

Problem: Pilot’s clock inoperative.
Solution: Wound clock.

Problem: Autopilot tends to drop a wing when fuel imbalance reaches 500 pounds.
Solution: Flight manual limits maximum fuel imbalance to 300 pounds.

Problem: No. 2 ADF needle runs wild.
Solution: Caught and tamed No. 2 ADF needle.

Problem: Unfamiliar noise coming from No. 2 engine.
Solution: Engine run for four hours. Noise now familiar.

Problem: Noise coming from No. 2 engine. Sounds like man with little hammer.
Solution: Took little hammer away from man in No. 2 engine.

Problem: Whining noise coming from No. 2 engine compartment.
Solution: Returned little hammer to man in No. 2 engine.

Problem: Flight attendant cold at altitude.
Solution: Ground checks OK.

Problem: 3 roaches in cabin.
Solution: 1 roach killed, 1 wounded, 1 got away.

Problem: Weather radar went ape!
Solution: Opened radar, let out ape, cleaned up mess!