A Warm and Quiet Weekend

I finished up a bunch of clean-up and resets on my website, so much fun, spent nearly three hours doing that this morning. The last few days I have spent with my nose in over-drive as the lilac bushes spew their pollen in the air. After a short-week, the workload at my work had dropped again significantly, I am happy once again. The biggest change for this weekend has been the weather, the last couple of days have been overcast with a bit of drizzle, but I am not complaining–we needed it badly.

Outside it is raining in the form of a light misty drizzle. It feels nice, although it is cool out, a mere 12C, but still nice to be in. After such a great month of May, people here are saying that we started spring with a bang, and with the forest fire risk rising up to “High,” the last couple of days, it dropped down to “Medium” adding relief back to the land. Even the Skeena River never got that high, as far as the spring time floods goes; this year it only rose up a few metres, hardly measuring that much of a significant change overall. But around here, on the North Coast, weather can change from one extreme to another, so no one can honestly predict it with long term accuracy.

I was happy with the long weekend last week, but sadly I knew the shorter week meant cramming five days into four, and that is what happened. I got through it, and the week did fly by in terms of time, but my rest and relaxing levels were back into “normal,” throwing out all the gains from during the long weekend. Yes, what is “normal” anyway? 

Last night, me and Suz., saw the New Hans Solo film. It was great, but I was not too happy with the 3D, I felt it lacked. But the plot was good, and (as all Star Wars movies go) the eye candy was awesome. The local cinema, The Tillicum Twin Theatres, was almost over half full, being that the film had been out for three days already. It was so it nice see the turnout, I think going to cinemas is not going out of style any time soon.

Allergy season is upon me. With the flowering of the lilac bushes, spewing their pollen out into the air, my nose drips with rage, as I spend my time blowing it to keep the snot levels from plugging it up. With the running nose comes headaches and dizziness, making sleep time difficult, and daytime activities tiring. It is comforting to know this time is short, but I dread this time of year as the annual cycle renews itself. The lilac flowers look pretty, but it is a love-hate thing with me.

I have been neglecting my website. Normally I am on top of it, checking it daily, weekly, performing update, tweaking and configuring the software, but lately I have been focusing my life on other things. Today I decided that I needed to roll up my sleeves and dive in. Some software were already badly in need of attention. My spam filters were in need of updating, and spammers were already by-passing some of my earlier hacks, so this was high on my list. I only had a couple of plug-in that need the update treatment too, but those were minor. But the biggest fix came with my hosting provider which did a lot of changes to my overall website. Let just say, the upgrade are awesome. The great news, it is all up to date now–making my happy once again.

Woah, the Sun popped through the clouds, this could be another great day. And I got a free car wash too from Mother Nature! Praise Nature! It looks so clean and sparkly in the gleam of the sunlight.

The photo is my growing rock and crystal garden on top of my PC. I bought another quarts crystal yesterday at the Gypsy Lady, in Thornhill, BC, just down the road from me. Among the quarts crystals, I have a chunk (95g) of Galena (Lead Sulphide), and a few pieces of Bornite (Copper sulphide, or Peacock Ore) mixed in too. I went “black and white” for that artistic licence with the image.

Added Some More Photos!

I spent the morning today cleaning up my Weblog. It needed it, and non too soon, I must say. I cleared about 1.5GB of old photo files that I felt have out-lived their time, and perhaps should be left in the archives, and presented another time and day. Plus, I fixed up my photo galleries–that in itself was a monumental task as well–gobbling up three-quarters my morning from that alone. And the rest of my time was spent doing cosmetic work, and basic editing in places where it needed it.

The photos I uploaded onto my Blog are from just a few weeks ago, on the last day of the 2017. Me and Suzette went out to Lakelse Lake and took a walk out on the ice. I put the slidewhow of it here in the post, but if you want to see in a lager format, look to the side menu, and find “North Coast Terrace British Columbia” under “The Photo Gallery,” and from there the photos should be about 900 x 600 pixels in size.

A huge problem I had was having to relearn how my Photo Gallery plug-ins worked…, again. I am kind of kicking myself becuase I had forgotten how most of the functions worked. Also, terminology, and the software’s semantics, used in some of the help files threw me off. I got through it, laughing a little, keeping it all in good humour.

Just Upgraded and Did Some Bug Fixes On My Blog.

Today is the day of upgrades. Not only did I do my WordPress, but some internal upgrades as well on my PC, including FireFox. Perhaps the biggest was the Kernel upgrade on my Linux OS, and everything seems to be working a bit better there after that. So, all this killed about three hours this afternoon, as I sat glued to my chair in front of my PC watching progress bars after progress bar flash by.

This post is mainly is a test post to see if my Twitter post alert plug-in works. I hope to have fixed that bug where it would send Twitter alerts of new posts from my WordPress, but for some strange reason, it would show the post from five years ago–not very helpful for someone on Twitter following my Weblog. So when I press send, I will see.

Success! I just posted, and all looks great. I checked the short-URL on my Twitter post, and it took me straight back to this post. So happy that worked on the first try. Now my Weblog and Twitter can live in harmony once again. 🙂

Weekend Wrap (You Can’t Eat this One)

I am sitting back, contemplating whether to post some photos, or just go with a general wrap-up of the long weekend’s activities, and the wrap-up won. I guess, since I am just too tired, and have no enthusiasm, to transfer over all the photos I shot this weekend over to my PC for editing, I am just going do a just a simple run-down text post. Clear, and cut, plane and simple, no fancy stuff in between.

This was a long weekend. In Canada, November 11th, is Remembrance Day, so since that fell on a Saturday, we got Monday off from work, as this is now a national holiday. I posted right up to then. Me and Suz., did go out, but only for a little while. I stayed home most of the day, mainly becuase I was feeling a little bit of a head cold coming on, but it was mild. A good night sleep cleared that up!

Sunday, I slept in as much as could, since I knew that the day was going to be a busy one. I finished off the last of my laundry, and did a little cleaning before it was time to pick up Siz. I worked on the Blog as well, after I found out that my Twitter Poster Plug-in was acting up. It was posting alerts from five years ago, not my current posts. So I disabled it, and will try and fix that once I get some time. I also had to work on PC, as that was acting up too.

I am getting lots of nibbles on selling my Pathfinder. I had one fellow out to day, and a couple wanting to look at that evening. There was one fellow, who posted a message to me, saying that he really wanted to buy it, but had to wait until Tuesday. I said, “Sure, but who ever brings their money first, gets the Pathfinder.” So we will see what happens. I am really happy that I get rid of it and have my parking spot back. Yay!

So, after 3:00pm meeting this guy about my Pathfinder, me and Suz., went out into town and looked around, had a coffee and sandwich before we had Sunday Dinner over at her parents place. It was a awesome night! Yes, we played dominoes! Never played it before, which made that more fun for me. We played fairly late. I drove Suz., home and got ready for Monday.

It turned out to be a great weekend after all as far as the weather goes too. It stayed quite nice, since that the weather apps were forecasting snow/rain/wind/minus zero type weather. None of that happened I am happy to report. Today (Monday) was really nice, though overcast, the temperature was a nice 5 to 8C day with no precipitation.

Monday, today, was a slow start. I guess I wanted to sleep in, but that never happened. So I did some more cleaning, and organizing around the house, and also spent some time getting the Pathfinder ready to ship out to the first buyer to take it. I am feeling stoked about that. Then Suz., came down, and picked me up in her car. We had a quiet day up town. We stopped off at the book store, then to the art gallery, and health food store, and even went to some places that sold quarts crystals, which I really like. I did buy a nice quarts crystal, and some tea over at the health food store, so I spent some money. Plus we splurged, and had a small dinner over at the A&W on Keith/Hwy16 in Terrace. Then we decided that we should call it a night, and get ready for tomorrow’s work day, as I am sure that will be action packed: cramming five days into four.

So that is the long weekend wrap-up. Hope you all had a great weekend!

A Lovely Day in the Neighbourhood

The Sun poked out through the clouds, and I was up, and I had my camera with me, so I took the “shot of the day.” Here it is, just to prove that we had some awesome weather today. It was nice; for a change. I decided to blog about it, just becuase.

I had an evil thought today. I thought, is it time to shut down this blog, and give it a rest. After all, it is getting on twelve years now, and I notice that my web traffic is a mere fraction of what it was back in the day. I do not know, just thinking about it, for now?

There are two main reasons why I blog now. First, I like writing. Writing is the most difficult thing for me to do. And I know this goes for most people that I know. Writing is a though thing to do, especially in English, which is just a dog’s breakfast when it comes to technical writing, and the spelling and grammar police that comes with it. But I write on, and now I love it, or else I would not be putting these lines of texts here. My second reason is my love with photography. The website is a means to express that love for my art, and post it for all to see on the world wide web. This web site is loaded with images. Since I graduated up to semi-pro gear, so to has my volume of images as well, and this is the place to see that. But still, I have kept a huge number of photos from my point-and-shoot days with hundred dollar camera. But these are it, my reasons for doing it.

 

Website Issue Resolved

A couple of days ago my host migrated my server account over to another server, and in the process, there was a glitch. When they copied the website over, along the way, file permissions were set wrong and my Word Press directory was given the wrong file permission. As a result, anyone who checked my website got a “Error Establishing a Database Connection.” Because of work and time, this persisted for two days until I have time to email them. The issue was resolved in just a couple of hours.

I double checked everything here, and all seems well. In fact, my admin page seems to work a lot faster now. Yay!

So fear not, all is well, and my website is safe–no lost data, files or photos. Business as usual. 🙂

Oh Yes, Comment Spam – You Suck.

For the last week, on my spare time, I had overhauled my website. Mostly cleaning up the data tables and plug-ins here on the weblog, but also the other projects on my website as well. But for a brief period, around two days, I left my spam filters in their default settings while I deleted and added plug-ins as part of my janitorial efforts. During that time, over 50 spam comments warnings were deposited in my email, and 15 of those made it onto my weblog. Since completing my updates and general cleaning, the comment spam blockers have been reactivated and are now doing their jobs, making my on-line experience a happy one. Life is good, or is it?

Party Girl 2015 B Weblog Image

Something that I always worry about is never knowing that I maybe blocking legitimate comments from my weblog. Although I have always had this rule that if someone wants to post a comment on a blog that looks and acts as a spam comment, then rightful so–it should be blocked. But what if it is from a friend who wants to share with me some really cool websites, and wants to tell me and my readers to go to a really cool web-link, or photo, then that should be a plus, right? Well, as I found out the hard way, what seems really cool and awesome looking, is more than likely not. I mean, that is the bases of advertising, to suck you in, lure you to what ever it is someone wants to sell you. Like the woman in the red dress, the packaging looks awesome, but until you remove the packaging, you have no idea what you are truly getting.

Anyway, I guess the at risk of allowing those doors to open, I will keep them locked, even at the expense of losing just one legitimate comment. Living with the spam is something I just think is repulsive when trying to run a good website–there ought to be law on comment spam, but for now we have plug-ins to keep them out. Thank you to the creators of comment spam blockers–thank you.

A Funny Thing Happened When I Posted Some Photos.

It was a couple of days ago that I released some photos I shot for a friend who needed some portfolio shots. He posted them both on Twitter and on his Face Book. I don’t do FB, so I haven’t seen them there, but I did see them on Twitter. He gave me credit, and somehow one of his followers from Twitter contacted me via Twitter. That’s when I got the strangest Tweet regarding my work. It goes like this, “Nice Pics… You’re the guy who does those clear photos. What do you use on your pics?” I laughed. That’s like me explaining The Theory of General Relativity in 140 letters, or less.

So I tweeted a direct message back to her (I’m assuming it’s a she) which went something like this: “I use a DSLR, and lots of post editing software. My cameras are semi-pro quality.” So a day goes by that I hear nothing from her. Then today, a flurry of 20 DMs shoot across my Twitter-Feed. The first volley were along the lines of, “why can’t my Smart Phone do that…” to “How do you get the back ground so blurry, yet everything else is perfect…” Then they ended off with, “Do you photograph horses too?”

OK, photography is something that I have being doing for a long time. It has only been in the last few years that I’ve taken it to a semi-pro level, mainly due to finally having enough money to buy those big ticket items I’ve always wanted. But, I guess, you either love it enough that you absorb all the knowledge that comes with it, or you sit down a study it until you master it completely, either way, you get it, or you don’t. I see photography as an art form. I draw, paint, and sculpt, but photography is just an extension of that art form, like the next logical step in my quest of beauty and perfection.

The weird thing about photography for me has been the ability to make some money with it. I didn’t throw up a sign and set out to create a business with it, it (or they) found me after I started posting photos on my Blog and website. I like flowers, so I have thousands of images of just flowers and plants, but that landed me a small contract to do a floral shop’s website. I don’t push my talent, I get emails, tweets, or phone calls out of the blue, asking me to do some work for various people from all walks of life. It started with some simple architectural/landscape jobs, selling houses on a website, to doing modelling shoots with real models in a real studio, then a few weddings. Now I turn down jobs simply becuase I have day job (actually a night job), and I have so many other things going on in my life now. I’m time-crunched. But I do sneak in a few odd job now and then if it really perks my interest.

So, I guess I’m going to photograph some horses in and around Langley City sometime in the near future. This should be interesting. But we’ll see what sort of job it is before I start packing up my camera bag. Business through Twitter–how’s that for networking.

Success – My PC/Workstation is Back Up and Running!

Here was my situation about six weeks ago: my main PC/Workstation was in the middle of an upgrade, while I was downloading a huge back-up file from my server. It was going well, until my upgrade software needed to restart the machine. As soon as it shut-off, that was when the whole system crashed, leaving numerous unfinished files either deleted, or unconfigured. When I started the system back up, a total loss form the boot-loader had occurred, leaving the system as a brick. No matter what I tried, I could not get it to start up again. Nothing worked – period!

My next phase was to try and recover all the information on my hard drives. I like my data secured, and kept safe, so naturally everything on my systems are encrypted–heavily. The glorious task of prying open my data turned quickly into a nightmare. Just when I thought it was going to a snap to recover my data, the ugly truth reared its head when my recovery software flashed the text in the header that it would take “62” to “85” hours to copy and recover my data, then another untold amount of time to decrypt it all. When you are dealing with 2 x 4TB drives, that is a lot of data to copy over.

I was mortified. Me being the Linux guy and everything, with my vast knowledge of computers, and software, I was now sitting on the other side of the fence, helpless and frustrated at the task before me. My research yielded little, as the on-line community was just as much in the dark as I was on this matter, especially with the Ubuntu pass phrase and hard drive encryption precess for recovery topic. I thought, type in your pass words, and the rest took care of itself. WRONG! Not so simple.

Even with my pass words, and pass-phrase alphanumeric code, I could not get the software recovery to work. It stumped me. I started asking myself questions like, did I record my pass phrase wrong, or was there something else I missed when I originally installed the OS? To this day I do not know.

I got thinking–what happened when my system crashed? The boot-loader was still intact, and I could see that the check-sum for my drives was an exact match. So this lead me down a different path, one that made me believe that maybe this was not a “corruption” of data issue, but of missing files that got wiped during the upgrade.  My first clue was not being able to see any graphics right after the initial boot-up. But I went ahead and started copying my data first–just in case I screwed everything up.

In the mean time, I set-up an older PC Tower, with a bare-bones OS, Ubuntu 14.04, just to get me by while I finished recovering my data on my main PC. Starting from scratch was horrendous: no email address, loss of work files, no contact names, and using webmail–it all sucked.

My first test, confirming my hunch about a broken graphics’s driver file. I confirmed that I did indeed had an issue with my graphics card’s driver file; it was completely missing. This meant that I had to purchase a new card and see if my OS would kick in and recognise it, thinking that this was an upgrade. The risk, further damage to my data.

My second test was buying a graphics card that would work. I originally had an ATI card in it during the crash, so I thought that buying another ATI card would do the trick. Nope. I realized that it had to be another make and model. So I bought an Nvidia card. IT WORKED!

Within seconds after the boot-up, my machine’s OS was hunting down the latest drivers for the new graphics card! As it spewed out glorious graphics of my log-in page across my monitor, in the background, it was digging up the files it needed to completed the job of the upgrade. I was ecstatic; I gave out a yell of gratitude that must of reverberated across the forest outside. Everything was now back to normal; my precious data, my machine, and my sanity, all recovered and put back to where it was once before.

Going Into October, Where Did the Time Go?

Okay, I got sidetracked…, a lot these last couple of weeks. So much on the go with the new employer, new contracts, and catching up on I.O.U.s, bills and projects that needed that stuff they call money that I never had enough of when I went through my period of unemployment. The new job is slowly filling those money voids. As I was fearing a loss of hours with the new job as we move into the slow season for them, my hours never got cut, and I am pretty sure that I should be steady up until November, so I can relax for the next four weeks. But anyway, yes, it has been busy.

List of Accomplishments for the Last Week of September

Mobile Equipment courses are completed and I will be fully licensed by the end of the week, going into the next. Since I had so much experience with these types of equipment, I went through the “fast-track” program, and was issues passes in the same day on the four basic types of equipment used in my location: Order Picker, Reach-Truck, Electric Pallet-Jack and Counter-Balance Fort-lift. The instructor was pleased that all that was required was just to demonstrate to him that I was proficient , and he gave a week to practice until the final “road tests” on each machine. I will not get any more pay, but this will bolster my hours during the slow season.

I took my First Aid (Level-One) and will move onto my Level Two in about four weeks. This was not done through my current employer, but on my own dime as I will need this for some contract jobs that will be coming up. The First Aid ticket is a nice skill to put on a C.V.

I received my final mark for the programming course I took over the summer. I walk away with an grade of A. Very happy with that. The course was programming in Python. My goal is to code on servers for high-end websites which use security and other types of work-flows that sit on networks.  This course was prefect for the type of work I want to do. I am actually running my own Python scripts here on this weblog, on top of WordPress, so this course really helped me out putting it all together.

Anyway, October is here. Wow…, where did the time go?