Level Headed Saturday

Saturday has arrived. Put up a shelf in the office for Pam’s scrapbooking area. I used my Christmas gift to put up a picture board. It is a padded frame with ribbons criss-crossed on the front to hold pictures and other stuff that she will use for a scrapbook page. It has two picture mounting brackets. So the trick is to get the nails on the wall level and at the correct distance.

So I used the new Black and Decker Gecko level with the two adjustable things in the middle. You adjust the two things to where the picture brackets are, move the level to the wall, get things level, and then make a mark where the mounting nails will go. Pretty clever level, and it worked as advertised.

Grey day outside: overcast, temps in the 50’s. Lots of snow in the mountains; up to 12 feet at a couple of the ski areas.

Weather Recovery and Raisins

It was partly cloudy today, a nice respite from the weekend’s weather. Lots of wind and rain, with much snow in the mountains. No wind damage at my house, although my mother-in-law’s house had a tree slowly lean into it, causing a bit of damage to the roof overhang, but not into the house. Bent the railing on the deck, but it could have been worse.

Found out that a nephew living in Fernley NV dodged a bullet when the irrigation canal broke, flooding a large subdivision. The flood waters stopped only one house away from them. They were able to help others in the neighborhood. Flood insurance is not something you would think you would need in Nevada.

Spent a bit of time trying to move a database from one SQL server to another. It’s rather large, so did a SQL backup to a local file. The next step is to try to copy the backup file to the other server. Using a mapped drive didn’t work, so will be trying a remote desktop connection tomorrow.

And at home, I am enjoying the oatmeal raisin cookies my wife made for me yesterday. They are my favorite, and healthy, AFAIK.

A Blustery Day

It was just like Winnie the Pooh said in his famous song “Hum For a Blustery Day”:

Oh the wind is lashing lustily
And the trees are thrashing thrustily
And the leaves are rustling gustily
So it’s rather safe to say
That it seems that it may turn out to be
It feels that it will undoubtedly
It looks like a rather blustery day, today
It sounds that it may turn out to be
Feels that it will undoubtedly
Looks like a rather blustery day today.

And that is what it was today around here. Lots of wind (20-40mph) with gusts up to 60mph (convert to kph at your own risk). Semi-trucks toppling over on the freeways and bridges, trees crashing into houses and cars.

And then there was the rain, falling at rates up to 2 inches per hour …

The rain rain rain came down down down,
in rushing rising rivlets …

… bringing flooded streets, streams overflowing, and the usual idiot drivers thinking that their cars can drive fast through flooded areas without problems.

And the snow up in the mountains, with predictions of 4-6 feet of snow in 24 hours.

I decided to work from home today.

I had a nice view of the blustery-ness. The trees around my house aren’t that big, so no problems at my place. A tree at my mother-in-laws house did lean over a bit, causing a branch to crash through the eaves, but not into the house/attic area. Other houses were not so lucky.

Sacramento (CA) is known as a city of trees, with lots of trees (elm and others) that are quite old (some 90+ years). Even though this was the first significant rain of the season, those trees have somewhat shallow root systems, and the strong winds did topple quite a few of them, unfortunately into quite a few houses and cars.

But even with all the damages, there were no injuries reported.

In the mountains, the snow turned blizzardly, which shut down Interstate 80 for a time. This is the highway over the Sierra Nevada (the pass is at 7200 feet). Built in the 1960’s (?), it was deemed an “All-Weather Highway”.

Except during blizzards.

(Yeah, I know. This is California. A couple of feet of snow is nothing to you folks, such as those in the frozen reaches of Minnesota. But it is exciting news around here; the local news stations pre-empted the entire morning TV schedule to talk about the weather. The advantage to that is that we didn’t have to listen to anything about Iowa and something called a “caucus”.)

More rain this weekend, so the plan is to lay low and inside. As long as the TV and the Internet connection works, I’ll be happy.

Happy Birthday Jason

Today is our son Jason’s birthday. It would have been his 26th.

Jason took his life in May of 2006. He had been fighting bipolar disease for over 10 years, and it got too much for him. There’s more info (and some of his music; he was very talented) on his web site at www.jasonhellewell.com (which could use a bit of updating).

Pam and I still make regular trips to the cemetery to place fresh flowers on his grave site. For holidays, we decorate a bit; a bit of sparkly ribbon, a small Christmas tree with decorations.

For his birthday, some fresh roses, along with a small birthday balloon.

It was quite rainy today and a bit windy today. Although we were all wearing coats, we forgot an umbrella. Stacy (youngest daughter) was with us; her coat had a hood. Pam and I had hoodless coats.

But I did find an empty 24-pack soda box (the fridge type). I enlarged the hole a bit, and wore it on my head to block some of the rain. Pam and Stacy laughed at the sight of me with the empty soda box on my head.

We like to think that Jason also laughed.

New Year and Old Cold

Back the the ‘grind’ (we all sure like to complain about going back to work after a holiday, don’t we?)

Most of the holiday was spent sniffling and feeling sorry for myself. No, not because of too many sappy holiday movies. The annual cold arrived the day after Christmas, morphing into a minor sinus infection after a few days.

With penicillian and a good supply of tissues, I’ve managed to get to the ‘almost-recovered’ phase of the cold.

I seem to get one of these a year. So did the usual “geek potato” routine: laptop to surf, and DirecTV for old movies.

USB Camera Strap

Did you get a new camera for the holidays? Take a lot of pictures?

Then spend a lot of time looking for the cable to connect the camera to the computer?

Yeah, me too.

Until I got a camera strap (lanyard) with a built-in USB cable. I got it from CyberGuys, one of my favorite mail-order places for techie things. The wrist strap is only $8, and the neck strap is only $9.

The connectors are inside a little plastic box the size of a pencil eraser. The strap part is actually the cable. Pull off the plastic box, and take out the cable to connect one end to your computer and the other end to the camera.

I’ve bought things from CyberGuys for several years without complaints. I have no connection with them other than a satisfied customer. Their prices are very reasonable (especially for cables), and they ship quickly.

A bit late for a stocking stuffer, but a useful thing to get for yourself.