Sunday, August 28, 2011

India Festival in Tulsa

I went to the India Fest in Tulsa yesterday, accompanying my daughter and several of her friends. We arrived shortly before noon, had lunch, and wandered around inside the Pavilion at the Tulsa County Fairground. There were booths showing Indian food and spices, religions, garments, and even industrial prowess.

As we entered, the stage was being prepared for a traditional Indian wedding procession. They invited all of us to join in, but I don't dance so well. Have you ever seen a dancing bear at the circus? They're way better than me.

The photos are over on Flickr.

Also, early yesterday morning, I went downtown for the start of the Oklahoma Steak Cook-off Championship. Now, I can't eat beef, so this was a hardship, believe me. But I took some good HDR photos that I'll post on Flickr later today or tomorrow.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Prepare to be amazed!

I bought a new Hawaiian shirt! It may be a trifle loud. But it spoke to me from across the room. Well, actually it shouted obscenities like a cheerleader with Tourette's syndrome, so how could I resist?

They should make jerseys like this. In fact, I've considered wearing one while riding on a very hot day because they fit like a tent, ventilate well, and motorists would be utterly convinced that a maniac was loose.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Criterium Photos

This is the start of the kid's race yesterday. They did one lap of the circuit, and I've seldom seen a more determined bunch of racers.

Tom Selleck's mustache competes for the local Sound Pony team. These guys were relentless in chasing down a lone flyer off the front of the group. They let him cook out there for about half the race before reeling him back.

This is the eventual winner of the Cat 3 race. He was with another rider off the front when, with a little over a lap to go, the other guy punctured. I talked with him after the race. He said he was really looking forward to the sprint.

I took over 400 photos yesterday, but narrowed it down to about 20. They're over on Flickr. If anyone has a specific person of interest, please feel free to contact me about more photos.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Owasso Criterium

We had the first-ever Owasso bicycle race today. It was a criterium on a figure 8 course around the downtown area. This photo is from the Cat 3 race as a chase group tried and failed to catch the two leaders. They had a half-lap advantage, and it was apparent that they wouldn't be caught. So the finale would be a two-up sprint to the line, but on the next to last lap, we heard the sharp pop and psssssst of a tire going down. Sure enough, it was one of the leaders. The other guy - a member of the Sound Pony team - cruised to victory.

I'll have more photos over the next couple of days. I burned up a bunch of memory and it's will take some time to edit them down. Also, as George suggested, I'm using a Flickr Pro account now, so I'll have more storage. Thanks, George!

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Be still my heart!

I finally broke down and bought a camera made in this century! It's an Olympus Pen E-PL2 with a micro four thirds, 12 megapixel sensor and a 14-42mm kit lens. That's equivalent to 28-84mm in a 35mm format. The maximum aperture is f3.5 at 14mm and it stops down to f22. This camera does everything a DSLR can do, but it's a smaller, lighter package. Still, with the kit lens attached it's not exactly pocketable, but that will change when I get a 17mm prime lens that's much shorter.

This is an HDR image of a storm front that came through yesterday afternoon. Oddly enough, it came from the northeast, when most storms approach from the west. Just after I took this, the gust front hit and temperatures dropped about 15 degrees in a matter of seconds. While we've had some much needed rain this week, this storm didn't drop any more water on us.

I worked today, another overtime shift that started at 4AM. At the end of it, I was exhausted, so I took the quick route home along US169. It's a limited access, four-lane highway. The road has the usual wide shoulder strewn with debris. In Oklahoma, it's legal to ride there, but it's not very pleasant.

As I approached the bridge over Bird Creek, a bicyclist was traveling north. She had just left the on-ramp and was riding on the shoulder. But at the bridge the shoulder almost disappears. It narrows to no more than 18 inches. I changed lanes before overtaking, but as I looked in my rear view, she was riding the perilously narrow shoulder as other traffic went by at 65-70mph without moving to the left at all. It would be nerve-wracking for me to attempt to ride there. Still, I have to admire her determination.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Quest

A voice came down from on high, saying in a loud and stern tone, "Thou hast displeased me, thou toad-like and surly husband, and there will be a reckoning! If thou should wish to be in my presence once again, thou must undertake a quest. Nothing less will bring my forebearance and prevent thy doom."

"What did I do now?" I whined. It was undoubtedly something I did, something I didn't do, or something I did poorly.

"Doest thou claim to not know the cause of my wrath?" the voice thundered. "How can you be so dumb?"

Sometimes I do play dumb. It's easier than trying to explain what I did, didn't, etc., and it avoids providing inadvertent clues to any misdeeds that haven't come to light yet. I did my best 'deer in the headlights' look and said nothing.

"Thou must bring a new peeler unto me!" she said. "In thy utter darkness and stupidity, thou hast lost the only good one in the kitchen."

This wasn't entirely true. I'd been assigned to potato peeling duty every night for a week, and I couldn't help it if the peeler went 'missing' -- although it did absolve me of the responsiblity of denuding helpless potatoes for awhile.

I brightened a little. "Soooo you want a new peeler, a nice one? Maybe something that fits well in the hand and is easy to manipulate?" I had just the thing.

Image by Joanna8555 on Flickr.

"No! Not THAT kind of peeler!" she roared. "I may yet smite thee, thou scruffulous toad-dog! Hie thee to the kingdom of Kohl or the wizard-realm of Target and bring me a peeler. Pray I do not send thee to the bottomless depths of the benighted land of WalMart on a Sunday afternoon, though thou doest truly deserve it. Fetch unto me the Peeler of KitchenAid, and make it snappy 'cause it's on sale, bozo!"

The WalMart bit shook me. We're having the local tax-free holiday this weekend, and the approaches to the dark realm of low, low discount prices would be thronged with orcs, goblins, bawling children, and less-than-happy parents looking to do mayhem for a chance at a parking space.

I respectfully tugged my forelock and hied off to Kohls.

"What wizardry is this?" I thought as I immediately found a place to park. Off to the west, nearer to the all-consuming evil empire that is the blackened land of Wally World, I could hear the cries of the damned floating on the wind. Orcs, trolls, and lawyers were feeding on the hapless crowd in an orgy fueled by money and happy meals from the satanic empire of Ronald McDonald. I turned away, saddened by the loss of so many people, but powerless to overcome the corporate might unleashed on those doomed souls.

I entered the kingdom of Kohl via the front gate, astounded to find it unguarded. Shoppers streamed by, laden with large bags bearing countless treasures. A few toothsome young women streamed by as well, their bodies unencumbered by much in the way of clothing due to the summer heat. I bumped into the door.

Two KitchenAid peelers remained on the shelf. I grabbed one and hurried back to the checkout, expecting to find a crowd of ravenous orcs waiting to make their purchases. But no, I breezed up to the counter and paid a handsome sum for the most wanted of peelers, then booked for the parking lot and home.

It was truly an adventure, but not one that I'd care to repeat any time soon.


Thursday, August 04, 2011

Thursday Musette

This was taken on my front porch yesterday afternoon.

First, a word about bicycle commuting! I've seen the same commuter several times in the morning, and it's painfully obvious that he's terrified of riding in traffic. Yet, like many fearful cyclists, he does things that may appear to be safer than riding in the travel lane, but in reality just make life more difficult for himself and the rest of us on the road.

I first saw him riding south along Mingo Road. He was in the right hand lane. I would be turning right at the south gate to the maintenance base. I slowed and tucked in behind him at a safe distance. To my surprise, he turned right at the gate, then turned left across the entrance just about where a pedestrian crosswalk would be. At the other side of the exit road, he turned twice again, looked over his shoulder for southbound traffic, and went back into the travel lane!

I muttered - okay - I yelled inside the car with the windows up - "Thou lumpish half-faced horn-beast!" or something similarly Olde English and Anglo-Saxonish. (My thanks to Chris Seildel and the Shakespearean Insult Generator for technical assistance.)

I saw him again this week, trying to cross the entrance at the main gate right before 6AM when the whole world is trying to get through that gate. Traffic arrives from north, south, and east - almost all of it turning west. My hapless commuter cyclist jumped the curb and punched the pedestrian crossing button. He wanted to go south across the gate entrance and continue south on Mingo but heavy traffic prevented him crossing like a pedestrian. Had he taken a place in the travel lane and waited his turn like any other traffic, he would have been under way in a minute or two.

I really want to catch up with this guy and give him my business card. He needs a mentor.


Have I mentioned that it's stinkin' hot? Oh, I have. There's an endless week of 100+ temperatures ahead. My grass is a nice brown color that crackles like potato chips when I walk on it. I'm worried about the trees, though. There's a redbud around the side. An oak tree stands over the south side of the driveway while a pine guards the north. The pine is shedding needles like crazy.

I had an idea to get water to the roots. I punched a couple of small holes in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket and placed it next to each tree, filling the bucket repeatedly through the evening. The oak had about 25 gallons tonight and the pine has had 10 so far. The water trickles out the bottom of the bucket, soaking into the ground with minimal evaporation. I hope it's effective.


I was doing a mod on a computer at work. This one is extensive. It called for the replacement of 6 SRAM chips - static random access memory - and they're kind of a PITA to do. One is nearly touching the lock bar that holds the card in place and it's neighbor is tight up against it, so there's mechanical disassembly to do. Then the card goes onto a hot air desoldering stage. It's cleaner and less stressful than cutting the ICs. After cleaning, the new ICs get soldered in place. They have J-leads that turn under the IC body, and combined with the tight quarters make soldering a pain too.

I thought I had it right when I finished and hooked it up to the test station. As it turned out, I'd managed to solder most of the chips in correctly, only missing a couple of joints.

It's entirely possible for a computer to develop Tourette's syndrome.

I learn something new every day.

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