After finding a new obsession and going out to buy official copies of everything that's available, it's always an extra delight to find out that the morons who published the CD decided to wrap CSS and Macromedia crap around the video streams. Thanks for making it extra difficult for me to use my dvd player, jerks! I always wanted to have to copy the stupid dvd onto a hard disk before I could actually play it, because if I didn't fill the disk up with teen titans videos I might actually be watching them instead of the teeny-tiny out-of-sync copies that are floating around online.
Are there any Republicans who aren't perverts? I suppose it was to be expected that an Evil Party representative who sponsored internet anti-pervert legislation would end up being a pervert, but using the internet to solicit teenage boys?
It's the Evil Party way: creepy sexual advances to teenagers is OK, but civil liberties? Oh, no, can't have that or the terrorists™ will win. That's one hell of a sick political movement they've got there -- it's almost as sexually twisted as the N*t**n*l S*c**l*sts were.
This raises the already unbelievable stupidity of the Stupid Party to new heights. You write off a filibuster (which might fail, because this is, after all, the Stupid Party, and you can count on some Senators anxiously chasing after the votes of the damned even though they're not going to get them) in exchance for votes -- which they will lose along party lines -- for some doomed amendments. And then, no matter how they vote, the Evil Party will start plastering up the
“The Democratic Party Is Anti-Torture” ads along with the rest of their already-planned-and-implemented election season smear campaign.
The Democratic leadership sold their souls for nothing. No, less than nothing. You do not compromise on torture. It is evil, it does not work, and the United States should not do it. And if they think the Evil Party will give them smooches for selling America down the river, they are woefully misguided.
Update: It's true. Fuck you, Democratic Party, it's going to be a cold day in hell before I vote for or contribute to you again.
Remember, they call themselves God's Own Party! And their god just loooves torture! Their god has a name that you might be familiar with. No, no, it's not Jehovah, it's שָׂטָן (Satan in english) and he's got a nice warm place where all of them can go when they've finished contaminating earth with their presence.
Allows disappearances at the president's pleasure.
Only allows legal recourse at the president's pleasure.
This is what the self-professed "faithful" Senators in the Evil Party are supporting. Imperial powers for the presidency, assigned to the most evil government the United States of America has ever had.
'The rat,' said O'Brien, still addressing his invisible
audience, 'although a rodent, is carnivorous. You are aware of
that. You will have heard of the things that happen in the poor
quarters of this town. In some streets a woman dare not leave
her baby alone in the house, even for five minutes. The rats
are certain to attack it. Within quite a small time they will
strip it to the bones. They also attack sick or dying people.
They show astonishing intelligence in knowing when a human
being is helpless.'
There was an outburst of squeals from the cage. It seemed
to reach Winston from far away. The rats were fighting; they
were trying to get at each other through the partition. He
heard also a deep groan of despair. That, too, seemed to come
from outside himself.
O'Brien picked up the cage, and, as he did so, pressed
something in it. There was a sharp click. Winston made a
frantic effort to tear himself loose from the chair. It was
hopeless; every part of him, even his head, was held immovably.
O'Brien moved the cage nearer. It was less than a metre from
'I have pressed the first lever,' said O'Brien. 'You
understand the construction of this cage. The mask will fit
over your head, leaving no exit. When I press this other lever,
the door of the cage will slide up. These starving brutes will
shoot out of it like bullets. Have you ever seen a rat leap
through the air? They will leap on to your face and bore
straight into it. Sometimes they attack the eyes first.
Sometimes they burrow through the cheeks and devour the
The cage was nearer; it was closing in. Winston heard a
succession of shrill cries which appeared to be occurring in
the air above his head. But he fought furiously against his
panic. To think, to think, even with a split second left -- to
think was the only hope. Suddenly the foul musty odour of the
brutes struck his nostrils. There was a violent convulsion of
nausea inside him, and he almost lost consciousness. Everything
had gone black. For an instant he was insane, a screaming
animal. Yet he came out of the blackness clutching an idea.
There was one and only one way to save himself. He must
interpose another human being, the body of another human
being, between himself and the rats.
The circle of the mask was large enough now to shut out
the vision of anything else. The wire door was a couple of
hand-spans from his face. The rats knew what was coming now.
One of them was leaping up and down, the other, an old scaly
grandfather of the sewers, stood up, with his pink hands
against the bars, and fiercely sniffed the air. Winston could
see the whiskers and the yellow teeth. Again the black panic
took hold of him. He was blind, helpless, mindless.
'It was a common punishment in Imperial China,' said
O'Brien as didactically as ever.
The mask was closing on his face. The wire brushed his
cheek. And then -- no, it was not relief, only hope, a tiny
fragment of hope. Too late, perhaps too late. But he had
suddenly understood that in the whole world there was just
one person to whom he could transfer his punishment --
one body that he could thrust between himself and the
rats. And he was shouting frantically, over and over.
'Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't
care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the
bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!'
Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More:
Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
The "detainee bill" in question is the torture bill, which legalizes such tortures as water torture (Spanish Inquisition), conveyer (USSR), and strappado (Spanish Inquisition, USSR, Israel.) And what do the self-proclaimed "religious" Democrats do? Any peep about it being evil and an insult to every citizen of the United States?
Shit, no, because that might offend the "morality" vote that has already sold out everything they claim to believe in just to vote for the party that wants to kill all the faggots (or at least the ones who don't work on Capitol Hill -- the Evil Party is very good at making sure their pogroms don't touch the people who plan and organize the lynch mobs.)
By their inaction, they damn their immortal souls to hell, where they can continue with their tradition of "cooperating" with the Evil Party members who sold their souls to the devil long ago.
And me? If the Democrats attempt to compromise with pure evil, they can get their votes and money from someone else.
'I told you, Winston,' he said, 'that metaphysics is not
your strong point. The word you are trying to think of is
solipsism. But you are mistaken. This is not solipsism.
Collective solipsism, if you like. But that is a different
thing: in fact, the opposite thing. All this is a digression,'
he added in a different tone. 'The real power, the power we
have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but
over men.' He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of
a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: 'How does one man
assert his power over another, Winston?'
Winston thought. 'By making him suffer,' he said.
'Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough.
Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying
your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and
humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and
putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?
It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that
the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is
torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world
which will grow not less but more merciless as it
refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards
more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded
on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world
there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-
abasement. Everything else we shall destroy everything. Already
we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived
from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child
and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman.
No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer.
But in the future there will be no wives and no friends.
Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one
takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated.
Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a
ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are
at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty
towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of
Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of
triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no
literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no
more need of science. There will be no distinction between
beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment
of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be
destroyed. But always -- do not forget this, Winston -- always
there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing
and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there
will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an
enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future,
imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever.'
When we were out for a walk in Oaks Bottom we came upon this moderately large orb spider that had apparently just recently caught itself an afternoon snack. The best and the bears went along ahead while I attempted to get a reasonable picture of the little eight-legged CIA interrogation specialist[*], and I actually managed to get a couple by the time they'd reached the end of the path, turn around, and returned to my position.
Postoffice has been pushed up to version 1.3.4 to correct an interesting little bug that I introduced when I put in the sendmail filter code last spring, but didn't actually discover until this morning, when I woke up to discover an international phone call on our answering machine telling me that pell was doing connection timeouts since yesterday morning.
The bug, which was producing spectacularly wierd results (claiming that all connections were coming from my other webserver, denying the connection, then
dropping coal into the goodness database) turned out to be coming from the sendmail filter library; When I wanted to connect to a remote filter (which I pretty much have to do if I want to use spamassassin, because pell is an a.out machine and spamassassin is a mass of dynamically loaded perl 5.6 code which won't even load on the version of perl (5.005.02) that's running on pell), I used a routine called attach_in, which I copied out of the library I'd written for retr last winter.
"copied out" is the important clue. When I copied it over to postoffice, I left behind a couple of perror() calls without even thinking about it. perror() is a nice debugging tool, but it doesn't work too well when it's called from inside a daemon that has closed stderr because it's running in the background. I didn't discover this for a long time, because when I enabled the sendmail filter code on pell, I started the sendmail filters on the other machine before I configured postoffice.cf on pell. And the sendmail filters were running, so I never properly tested the case of trying to attach a filter to a remote process that isn't there.
*Well*, the spamassassin filter died yesterday at around 8am, and then smtp started slowly going intermittently to hell, letting in just enough mail to fool me into thinking that everything was happy while this went on in the background:
Umm, oops? By the time I got to it there were approximately 1500 pieces of coal for gehenna in Santa's list, and almost every connection was falling over dead because of the heaping pile of anthracite that was being kept as a stocking stuffer.
And 25 minutes later the tea kicked in and I realized that perror() was not what I wanted to do when a connect() call failed.
Sigh. So, New Code! for those of you who actually want to use postoffice as a mail server. I've even put in one
tiny feature; the smtp DEBUG command now tells you what version of the code you're running, so you can pretend you're upgrading for the features instead of for the bugfixes.
The last time I got pictures of Amtrak twinkies 112 and 113, it was still summertime and Brooklyn Yard was still hot, dry, and dusty. But it's not summer anymore and the first round of rain has driven down the dust so that when 112 and 113 pulled the northbound Coast Starlight through the yard, they didn't kick up even the slightest amount of dust, and thus the pictures I took make the train look like it's just standing still in a few different locations.
The new lens is kind of terrifying in the amount of detail it can pick out. I'd taken the polarizing filter off to see how much light would come in without the polarizer interfering, and I suspect that if I'd left it I'd be able to read the large lettering on the GE builders plate on 112.
And having a nice fast lens and a sunny day means that I get to see more of the inside of the lounge car than I realized.
Annotations has been pushed up to version 18.104.22.168 because I've added a couple of new features to it. I've got a smallcollection of non-standard pages in TSFR, and I've been wanting to make the normal crop of weblog operations work on them as well as the regular weblog pages. So there are now three changes to the code that will support this.
The first (and most trivial change) is that the code supplies the new environment variable LOCATION, which is the path from bbsroot to the
article that wants to use this. This is used by the second change,
which is that the filename passed to <?theme [filename]?>
can now be prefixed with an environment variable (right now the only
useful one is $LOCATION, but there may be others someday.) I set this
up so I can change the appearance of single pages via page-specific css
(look at the source for this page -- it uses the exact same css as everything else here, but some
of that css is overwritten to make it look slightly different), but it can also be used to include any arbitrary site-specific text.
The third, and most important, change is that reindex and the comment program will now handle articles in any directory, not just ones in the YYYY/MM/DD/ weblog tree. You still have to create the page by hand (by generating the message.txt and message.ctl files), but once you've done that reindex will properly generate the index.html file and the comment code will allow your users to comment just like they can comment to any regular weblog page.
Like most of the rest of the online world, I've discovered Youtube and its huge collection of snarky outtakes from The Daily Show (as well as a few music videos.) Unfortunately, I've discovered these videos on a collection of machines that aren't quite up to modern cycle-eating standards, which means that if I look at a video on my laptop machine (a Toshiba Tecra 8200 running windows XP, which is a lot faster than when it was running Centos 4) flash-inside-the-browser takes up about 98% of the processor. This is not good, because it means that if I ever do anything like, oh, resizing a different window the whole video window comes to a screaming stop.
So I started to look at other ways to view the videos. I found that I could export the flash video streams to files on the local machine, convert them to .mov files with ffmpeg, then view them with Quicktime.
This worked better than embedded flash -- it only takes about 70% of the machine, which meant that I actually had a fighting chance of being able to deal with the other windows without locking everything up, but if one of those other windows was a web browser a large page-slurp would make Quicktime lock up like a drum until it was finished.
Okay, so this wasn't quite perfect. It was probably good enough for production use, but I wondered if I could do better with the Windows version of mplayer, which I was already using on Linux (for everything except embedding in firestar -- I don't know if there's any way to actually embed mplayer, and the swiss army plugin uses X*n* instead, which has its own collection of dependencies, including (shudder) X11 ones), so I downloaded it and installed it on the windows box.
I just tested it out, and it uses, on average, 5% of the machine. Sure, it doesn't have a fancy button interface, and the sound goes completely to hell if you move the mplayer window, but I'll write those features completely off in exchange for getting 65% of the processor back.
That's how long until Christmas. Why do I know this? Because we just got our first stupid Christmas catalog in the mail today. Who needs Thanksgiving, Halloween, or Remembrance Day when you can proceed immediately to the promised land of the yearly orgy of consumerism?
Remember when merchants at least had the common decency to wait until after Thanksgiving day before rolling out the "Spend! Spend! Spend!" propaganda? Sheesh (or, if I'm going to proceed immediately to the OoC, "bah! humbug!")
I could see a line of boxcars on the Powell Street bridge when the #17 bus came off the east side of the Ross Island bridge this afternoon, so I hopped off at Powell and Milwaukie and walked up to the 15th Street pedestrian bridge. There was a Yellow Menace transfer freight waiting on the northbound main (I took several pictures of it, but all of the good ones were spoiled by green lightspots in the middle of the frame. Drat), and as I peeked around to see if there was anything else I heard the distinctive *toot, toot* of an Amtrak train approaching from the south.
I wedged myself up against the chainlink fence (for some reason the top of the bridge is encased in fencing, unlike the Toonerville bridge to the south) and started snapping away as soon as I saw the headlights of the northbound (and, of course, two hours late) Coast Starlight.
Some of the pictures turned out better than the others.
in weblog.conf, set filter=/usr/local/bin/bloglikeapirate
I'm using a Blosxom plugin because even though it's all p*rl, it runs on the statically linked a.out version of p*rl 5.005_02 that's on pell. The php and p*th*n talklikeapirate plugins that are floating around for other weblog programs have the fatal disadvantages that they are written in php (a language for people who think that p*rl doesn't mutate fast enough) and p*th*n (ditto). And once you've thrown a couple of gigahertz of P4 at the stupid language, it finally becomes disk-bound and can render TSFR about as fast as the regular unfiltered rendering.
Talk like a pirate day does suffer from some problems, mainly that it appears to be getting more and more screamingly sexist every year, but the bloglikeapirate version of TSFR is bizarre enough to make up for it so far.
Two sets of photos taken under less than perfect conditions.
The first set is a couple of pictures of a crawfish at the bottom of Crystal Springs creek next to firehouse #20. After a lot of retouching, you can actually see the crawfish eating dinner, then glaring at the photographer.
We've lived in Portland for over a decade now, but until tonight I had never gone over to Chapman School to see the Vaux's Swifts do their emulation (in reverse) of the tornado which snatched up Dorothy and dropped her into Oz. We fixed that tonight.
Three Yellow Menace switch engines sit at the south end of Brooklyn Yard. Yes, this is yet another picture snapped from our mobile photography platform (aka our Toyota Prius), but this one was taken with the new 50mm f1.4 lens.
And this is a government that can't be bothered to even look for Osama bin Laden. Sure, it's important to be able to torture innocent bystanders to death, but to look for someone who managed to destroy the WTC? Not so important, because even though ObL is an evil mastermind, he's still a bin Laden, and that family is a wealthy Saudi family, which means they're all BFFs of the B*sh family, and you can't go around arresting close family friends for piddling little episodes of mass murder when you've got places to go and people to murder yourself.
This not-so-little hunting spider was spotted running across our porch this morning, but fortunately (for me) it was cold enough so the running was much more molasseslike than the typical arachnid scamper.
Okay, in reality it isn't all that earthy-crunchy, but the summer of '06 plunge in power consumption is being driven by a fairly obsessive program of replacing power hogs with more efficient things. My grand plan is to get under 500kwh/month, because then I think I could have a fighting chance of putting enough solar+wind generators on our expansive estate to run the house completely off-grid.
Today, I decided to forgo the usual stop at Brooklyn Yard, but instead switched busses at 11th and Division (I actually rode the #17 across to 9th and Powell, then walked over to 11th and Division to catch the #70, because the Coast Starlight was running late and I might catch it in mid walk) so I could get home earlier.
Well, I didn't get home earlier, because something had bottled up the #70, and no bus appeared until about 17:40, when the banana busses rolled on up, but I did get a chance to see some Eng!s while I was cooling my heels.
First, as I walked down 9th on the way to the bus stop, I heard the now-familiar *toot tooooot toot toot* of the northbound Coast Starlight as it approached the 11th and 12th Ave. crossings. It was far enough away, and moving slowly enough so I could quickly dodge 1 block east to get a better field of vision as it popped out between buildings.
I appear to be having trouble actually centering the item I'm trying to take pictures of. It's more of a problem now that I've attached a prime lens to my Pentax, because it removes the luxury of being able to zoom out and get more of the engine and the rest of the train.
After the Coast Starlight went past, I finished my walk to the 11th and Division bus stop, getting there at about 17:25. And then I waited, and waited, and waited. And, before the bus got to me, the evening Yellow Menace transfer freight left Brooklyn Yard and rolled slowly and majestically northwards. The second engine on the train was an ex-SP engine (which I first saw on Tuesday, but then it was just sitting at the head of a train that was parked in Brooklyn yard) that had not yet been painted into the most boring paint scheme in all Christendom, so I made sure to get one picture of it pretending to lead the train across 11th.
A SD70m (UP #4020) also made a light engine move from Albina to Brooklyn Yard, but trucks and SUVs were more in the way, so I didn't get a picture that was worth keeping.
When I came home from work tonight, I didn't have any expectations of seeing anything interesting at Brooklyn Yard; Amtrak #14 was late, but it was supposed to be really late, and it was cold, I was in my shirtsleeves, and the whole idea of standing on the Toonerville bridge for half an hour just didn't appeal to me. And after I got off the #17 bus and walked over to the yard, only to see absolutely nothing except a couple of covered hoppers, I really didn't expect to see anything interesting.
I waited around for a couple of minutes, then started heading home, but just then a pair of Yellow Menace switchers pulled into view. Oh, well, an Eng! in the hand is worth two in the bush, so I turned around and took a couple of pictures.
Hello? That sounded like an ...
... Amtrak train, silently scooting north at track speed.
After that train vanished out of sight (but not out of sound; there are a lot of crossings north of Brooklyn Yard and I could hear the twinkies blowing for each one of them until I reached my bus stop) the two Yellow Menace switchers pulled up to the yard throat, giving me a good chance to photograph them before they shoved their cut of cars back into the bowels of the yard.
It would have been better if an Alco had gone by, but it was still a good layover between busses.
Note: The slight grain that you may see in these pictures is a relic of (a) using a higher ISO to compensate for the clouds and (b) saving the images as jpegs instead of the better-to-manipulate but slow to process in Irfanview Pentax raw format.
Umm, er, okay. I'm just delighted to realize that my citizenship has been seamlessly transferred from the United States of America over to a comic-book version of the Soviet Union.
In case you're wondering, testing weapons on citizens of your own country is the sort of evil stunt that dictators and tyrants do, and not the sort of thing that you'd expect out of (what used to be) a representative democracy. This is not acceptable behavior, and the thuggish creeps who thought up this idea need to be removed from their positions and flung into prison for the rest of their miserable lives.
Note the distinct lack of a response from the thugs who occupy the White House. Impeach them. Impeach them now, then purge the senior ranks of the Air Force.
Pentax has just introduced a 10mpixel camera, which would be a lovely thing to attach (after I win the lottery) to a deep enough ('enough' meaning that I should be able to see the whites of a bee's eyes) macro lens. This would be a unqualified good thing, except for one teeny detail; with all of the image stabilization and dust-cleaner-offer technology wedged into the camera, it ends up being about 10% larger and heavier than the teeny-tiny *istDS that currently lives in my purse. And, you know, if I wanted a huge SLR, I already know where to find Nikon and Canon, and then I wouldn't have to do a holy-grail style search to find or make a lens mount adaptor.
I suppose if I semi-permanently attached one to a 400+mm macro lens the additional 10% would fall into the noise (14.5 inches vs 15 inches isn't
really noticable) but it's still a point against it, because eventually I'd want to carry it as an everyday camera, and then I'd notice and be continually annoyed by the extra volume. This is a moot concern, because of the teeny difficulty of not wanting to spend US$8000 on additional lenses plus camera, but it's still annoying because eventually my *istDS will fail, and at the rate that digital cameras go obsolete it's very likely that the whole *ist.+ and K1.0D series will have gone the way of the buffalo, and then I'd HAVE to get a huge waddling waterbuffalo of a camera.
The South Macadam extension to the downtown Portland trolley line isn't even open yet, but they're already extending it. Note the trolley pole sitting right at the end of the track which will, of course, have to be moved to attach the extension to the extension extension. You'd think that the engineers who designed the overhead for the extension would have considered that, just possibly, someone might want to extend the trolley line sometime, and that it might be a good idea to not put a freaking line pole right at the end of the line, but, no, even though the trolley line is being installed by the Portland government it doesn't stop them from being every bit as stupid as the captains of private industry.
Before I leave work every day, I usually check the Amtrak online arrival times for the trains that, if they're late, are likely to be going past Brooklyn Yard at the same time I'm switching busses there. I was particularly interested in what would happen today, because of the new camera gear that had just arrived in the mail today. Happily, the northbound Coast Starlight was running about 90 minutes late, and was scheduled to arrive at Union Station at approximately 5:25. So, at approximately 5:00:00, I grabbed my purse and bolted for the #17 bus.
The bus arrived at Haig street at about 5:10, so I hopped off, checked the signals (green. Yay!), and headed south for the toonerville bridge. I had time to take a couple of test pictures, then I heard the very quiet rumble of a fast-approaching train.
The SMC FA lens is, um, a bit better than my old lenses, even if it felt a bit wierd to just sit there snapping pictures without adjusting the zoom as the train got closer and closer.
After our triptothecoast and the somewhat less than clear railroad photography on the way back, I finally snapped and bought some faster glass for my Pentax. I mail-orderd a 50mm/f1.4 SMC-FA lens plus a circular polarizing filter, and, after UPS took six days to deliver a "3 day select" package, it arrived in the mail today, and after I spent my lunch hour cleaning out (in the Pentax-approved puff-of-air style, which, even though it may be a good workout for the thumb and index fingers, is not the most effective way of cleaning a sensor) and setting up the lens + filter on the camera (well, and having lunch too; the big advantage, for me, of a SLR camera is that they all come with easily removable lenses, which means that it took about 5 seconds to actually physically attach the lens to the body and the filter to the lens), I was ready to attack Brooklyn Yard with camera in hand.
Taking a couple of pictures with the polarizing filter turned this way and that was interesting:
Figure 1; polarizing 0°
Figure 2; polarizing 90°
Both of these pictures were taking with the camera in full auto mode, and it's kind of interesting to see the difference. There was enough glare in the 0° position that the camera set itself to f5.6, 1/500th second, but in 90° it went down to f4.5, 1/350th second, and to make things better everything looks about as bright as it actually did this afternoon.
The 50mm lens has some redeeming characteristics of its own, of course, but the polarizer was really noticable even on the dinky little review screen on the Pentax. Yum. I may have to go out and get polarizing filters for the two zoom lenses that I got with the camera.
We went out to the Lego store at (shudder) Washington Square mall yesterday so the bears could get their (late) birthday present for me. On the way back, we passed this westbound train on the short section of highway 26 which parallels the Hillsboro interurban line.
When I'm not trying to plan a picture, I leave my Pentax in full-auto mode so it can figure out the best exposure settings. But one of the things I did with it was to prune down the region that it looks in to figure out how to expose things, because I want to be able to point at an object and have that object be properly exposed no matter what the rest of the photo looks like. This usually works, but sometimes, like when I'm in a car going past this Yellow Menace engine, I don't get the camera pointed properly and the exposure turns out to be not exactly what I'd planned.
This picture was taken at 9am on Wednesday, and it was not even close to as dark and forboding as you might think.
Or possibly they just die. This ex-salmon was discovered on the beach by the lighthouse on Cape Disappointment, which is not the sort of place I'd expect to see any spawning going on, unless it's by a particularly stupid collection of fish.
On our way to the coast, we passed a Gresham-bound interurban just before the 26-217 split.
And on the way back (via I-5, obviously) we passed a northbound BN/SF train south of Longview. The pesky planet had already rotated far enough so that the sun was blocked by the coast range, so the pentax had to do a nice long exposure to see anything at all. We were heading south at 120 km/h, the train was headed north at ~100 km/h, and I-5 was somewhat bumpy, so the resulting picture is another reason for me to get some faster glass for my Pentax.
The company I work for sells space on their corporate mailing list (which all employees are signed up for [and no, you can't opt out]) to e-mail marketers, so the vitally important email that I get from Borg Central contains a steady stream of spam.
Now that's certainly a step that will instill a sense of corporate loyalty ("we love you soooo much that we're going to relay spam into your mailbox and not allow you to opt out of it!") Gee, thanks. I'll file that under the same category as the postal mail spam I get as a "benefit" of working for this company.
And my corporate masters wonder why the results of the insultingly patronizing Gallop 12q surveys are uniformly negative.
When we left Astoria for our trip home, I took about 30 pictures of the Columbia and the Oregon riverfront so I could feed them into the autostitch program when I got home. Tonight, I fired it up, fed in the pictures, and walked away from the laptop for six hours as it glowed red-hot while trying to match the pictures together, with the result you can see at the top of this post.
I was very busy with the telephoto lens this past weekend (the bears have become more self-propelled, so it's possible for me to fire up the pentax and take hundreds of pictures of pelicans and other aerial menaces without having to run off and retrieve them from the ocean), so it's going to be pictures pictures pictures until the psychedelics kick in.
These sandpipers were looking for dinner while the pelicans and the seagulls were racing back and forth between the Pacific Ocean and the backwaters of the Necanicum River.
The local gang of harbo(u)r seals were out taking advantage of high tide at the river mouth, but they were very interested, in the sort of standoffish way that seals (and cats) are, in the strange band of bipeds who were whooping it up and running around at the waters edge.
I've been playing some games with the "demo" (==time-limited, yuck!) version of the autostitch program that was developed at the University of British Columbia, and decided to feed some roster shots I took of the afternoon Yellow Menace transfer freight as it left Brooklyn Yard last week. I was standing by the toonerville bridge as the train rolled by, and took a picture of each locomotive as it went in front of me, then I fed those four pictures into autostitch and let it surprise me.
The double-ended BoCo version of GP38-2 #503/1012 is a particular treat, but I suppose that there's not much market for double-ended diesels in North America, so it will have to remain as nothing more than the feverish dream of some computer software.
We went down to the coast on Saturday, to avoid the friday "it'slabordayandwe'vegottogettothecoastrightnow!!!" rush, and, aside from the perpetual traffic jam in Seaside, manage to completely avoid it. But on saturday we encountered traffic problems of a completely different sort; we were walking down a path alongside the Necanicum River and were apparently not going quite fast enough, so we were passed, at a dead run, by a fellow vacationer.
This is not exactly what I'd call a wild deer; we were walking towards the ocean, as was the deer, and when we abruptly stopped (and I started scrounging in my purse for the Pentax) it simply sped up and went into the passing lane to get around us. It only stopped when it had gotten around us and realized that another group of vacationers was walking towards it on the same path, and that that other group of vacationers included an unleashed dog. That was finally enough to encourage it to abandon its normal plans and to head up over the top of the sanddunes and into the scrub forest that occupies the backdunes around Gearhart.
Four of them, just in case you're going through pelican withdrawal. All of these pictures were taken on the beach at Gearhart, OR, on saturday and sunday, but I didn't get the chance to actually dump them to the weblog until today.
My eldest son has been, for the past couple of years, sneaking off to his grandmothers and watching episodes of Animal Planet. Imagine my surprise when, after coming back from a labo(u)r day vacation where he kept telling me a variety of interesting and not totally believable facts about animals which he had learned from Animal Planet, to discover that Steve Irwin had managed to end his career by becoming the third person to be killed by an Australian stingray.
RIP, Mr. Irwin.
(but where's the homage, you might ask? Read on, and you will see.)
This ray, which we discovered on the beach in Gearhart, OR, is not in a position to sting anyone. It actually might be a stingray (at least one species is native to the Oregon Coast), but its stinginess is now only a matter of concern to whatever prey it might encounter in ray heaven.
A pair of Yellow Menace SD40-2s pause by the 15th Street pedestrian overpass while either making up or breaking apart a train in Brooklyn Yard. I took this picture while the #70 bus was sweeping by -- after I got off the bus, I took a few more pictures of the two SD40-2s backing over the Powell Street bridge, but since I (a) didn't have my telephoto lens and (b) was sitting at the Milwaukie and Powell bus stop, they turned out to be nasty, brutish, and small.