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SJC Smoke Plume

Brush Fire Smoke, originally uploaded by Kelson.

Smoke from a brush fire near San Juan Capistrano, seen from the parking structure at the Irvine Spectrum. I wouldn't have caught this if I hadn't checked Twitter when I sat down to lunch and seen an update from @LATimesfires. (As it is, I still had to make do with the camera on my phone.)

The picture was taken around 1:30. It's about 3:30 now, and I don't see a plume anymore (though it could be behind a building) -- just a smear of haze to the south and west.

According to the LA Times, the fire started when a tractor crashed into a power pole this morning.

(reposted from K-Squared Ramblings)


Cleaning Up

I spent a good chunk of the weekend catching up on things I've been meaning to do for a while. This included:

A run to storage (also to look for alenxa's pumpkin saw) to swap some books I've read recently for some books I've been meaning to reread. And also to pick up some comics that someone had expressed an interest in buying.

Email cleanup. I'm almost down to 150 messages! About 1/3 of what's left are either to-do posts I've sent myself or newsletters that I still want to read.

Going through the leftover bits from my last computer upgrade, and sorting out what to keep, what to sell, and what to hand over to e-waste collection. This also meant opening up my computer so I could wipe the old hard drives. While I had it open, I reconnected my ZIP drive, so we can go through our collections of ZIP disks and see if there's anything worth saving.

I also tried to wipe the old laptop's hard drive, but it froze about halfway through the process.

And then there was the pile of ~4 months' worth of junk mail that I went through looking for Tech Tool Pro 5 so that I could test the extra RAM in that laptop. It turned out the CD was somewhere else (sandwiched between two boxes), but at least I got a head start on that process. By the time I found it, it was too late to get started, so that's something to try tonight.

Also: watched two movies: Liar, Liar, which Katie had seen before but I hadn't, and Conan the Destroyer, which I only barely remembered seeing. Shortly before starting the film, I looked at the envelope and wondered aloud, "How the heck did they manage to squeeze a PG rating out of Conan?" Simple: cut out the sex, and minimize the blood. And amp up the cheese. Biggest surprise, though? Olivia D'Abo as the princess.

Touring Mt. Wilson (17 Years Ago)

100-inch Reflector TelescopeThe Station Fire burning through the Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles is expected to reach the summit of Mt. Wilson sometime tonight. In all likelihood it will damage or destroy the communications towers and the observatory complex. The Mount Wilson Observatory is an active observatory, and is also of historical importance because of discoveries made there over its 105-year history. In particular: Edwin Hubble's* observations with the 100-inch Hooker telescope (shown at right) indicated that universe is much larger than was previously thought, and that it was expanding -- observations that revolutionized astronomy and led to the current Big Bang theory.

Solar ObservatoryI've been to the observatory once, on a tour my family took on August 8, 1992. We'd just come back from a trip to Florida where we visited Disney World and Cape Canaveral during the summer I was 16. I really wish I could remember more about the trip...but I took pictures and labeled them (though not in much detail). With the observatory threatened, I thought I'd dig them out and scan them**. You can see all eight on my Mt. Wilson Observatory Tour 1992 photoset on Flickr.

Misty Mountains, Somewhere in the San Gabriels.The Observatory's website is apparently hosted on the grounds, so the fact that its fire status page is still responding indicates it's still there and has power. The latest update says that they're setting up a backup info page at http://joy.chara.gsu.edu/CHARA/fire.php, but that's showing a 404 error right now.

*As in the Hubble Space Telescope.

**Scanning them was not a problem. Digging them out? That was a problem. I knew exactly which photo album they were in, and thought I knew where the album was. As it turned out, it wasn't there. It was in an unopened box shoved at the very back of the long,narrow hall closet, such that I had to move 3 other boxes, several bags, and an unused CD rack just to see that it was labeled "photo albums" on top. Edit: And, oh yeah, the trail of ants along the wall, going after the long-forgotten bag of Halloween candy. The wall I kept brushing up against. How did I forget that part?

That's the missing piece that makes the classic phrase more than a simple tautology. It's not just that it's in the last place you look. It's that it's in the last place you want to look.

Cross-posted at K-Squared Ramblings and Facebook.

Being Less of a Twit

Y'know, after a couple months of no Twitter posts getting transferred to LJ, and then rethinking the Twitter/blog tie on the whole, I think I'm just going to turn off LoudTwitter and just make an effort to post directly to LJ once in a while.

It just seems like the short-form Twitter and long-form LiveJournal are a poor fit for each other. Facebook is a much better match. Plus I've already got a set of digests over at K-Squared Ramblings, where I'm tidying them up (titles, tags, etc.) as I have time.

It might be worth decluttering this journal and deleting any old "Line Items..." posts that don't have comments. Definitely the ones that are just "New blog post: (link)," and probably most of the rest, too.

Bringing Back the 80s: Super Powers 25th

In 1984, Kenner launched a line of DC super-hero action figures under the name Super Powers. The toys were tied to the Super Friends cartoon, and each had an action: If you squeezed Superman's legs, he would throw a punch. If you squeezed the Flash's arms, he would run. Each figure also came with a 16-page minicomic starring the character and others from the toy line.

Today, Crisis on Earth-Blog unites fourteen sites in celebrating this landmark toy line.



Prepare to be Bombarded

Loudtwitter is back from ~2 months downtime and, according to the FAQ, is catching up on *all* the tweets from the mean time.

It's not clear whether it'll *post* them all, but just in case, I'll see if I can change settings to automatically put everything behind an LJ-cut. If I can't, or if it doesn't work, I'd like to apologize in advance to anyone who reads their friends' page between the time it posts and the time I manually fix it. Update: Loudtweeter swears it'll only actually *post* today's items, it just receives 200 messages at a time from Twitter. So you should be safe! (I did manage to wrap the template in an LJ-cut, assuming I didn't mess up the formatting. Not sure if I'll leave it or not. Something to deal with later.)

OK, back to reading specs.


Deep-Fried WHAT???

We went to the Orange County Fair on Saturday afternoon. Most years we end up going to at least one of the Pacific Amphitheater's summer concert series, which includes fair admission, so we just combine it into one trip. This year it was Melissa Etheridge, and we also had another goal: Al's Brain.

We started by grabbing some water and (in my case) a chocolate milkshake (because I wanted some ice cream, dangit! and drinkable made it easier), then wandered through the arts and crafts displays, where they showed prize-winning jewelry, crochet, display models, dresses, origami, etc.

Al's Brain

Then we made our way to the back of the fair, where they had set up a portable theater for Al's Brain (in 3-D!). There was a huge sand sculpture out front of "Weird Al" Yankovic holding out a brain in his hand. An animated question mark and exclamation point would occasionally pop out the top of his head, and smoke would pour from his ears.

"Weird Al" has actually had a long association with the Orange County Fair, often doing free concerts on multiple nights during the run. We've seen him there at least twice, possibly three times. One year there was a "Weird Al" museum of sorts. This year, he got involved in a short 3-D educational film (comedic, of course) about the brain.

More about Al"s Brain; Zucchini Weenies and Chocolate-Covered Bacon; Acrobats; Concert; The Fair at NightCollapse )

Cross-posted at K-Squared Ramblings and at Facebook.

Writer's Block: I May Be Crazy

What does this Rorschach blot look like to you?

Two chihuahuas clinging to the sides of a bell and its support beam.

Honestly, I'm not typing this from a Taco Bell.

Catching Up

Spent the weekend mostly cleaning and following up on things from Comic-Con last week. Photos are all up at Flickr, and alenxa and I are posting write-ups at K-Squared Ramblings.

Some highlights so far:

Oh, and there's the matter of the costumes...

Off to Comic-Con

The annual trip commences...

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October 2011


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