Archive for March, 2007


Sunday, March 25th, 2007

I was up shooting approaches this morning with my favorite CFI and we saw a pretty amazing thing on the ramp when we got back. A swarm of bees was attached to one of the aircraft parked on the ramp, in full on “protect the queen” mode.

Bees on a Cirrus

That whole dark patch is bees. I hope for the owner’s sake that the bees are just moving the hive somewhere and that they haven’t decided that they’d rather have a moving base of operations. Man, what a potential nightmare.

Practical matters aside, I’d really hate to have this happen. When I was younger I had a serious phobia about stinging insects – I sat on a hive full of ground-based bees at an impressionable age. I’m pretty well over that now, but I still wouldn’t like have to deal with a hive in the Archer.

I’ll be hosing my plane down with wasp and bee killer for the forseeable future. (Image courtesy of Andy Hoover.)

One got through

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

For the first time since installing Akismet I had to moderate a spam post today. Not bad.

Review of The Weather Makers

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

I’ve put my review of The Weather Makers up on Bell, Book, and Candle.

Comment spam improvements

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

When I jumped up to WordPress 2.1.2, I also turned on Akismet, a plug-in that filters blog spam. If you’ve never run a blog, you probably can’t believe the volume of crap that gets autoposted to even the most backwater and benign of blogs. When I logged in after 3-4 days of not touching this blog, there were more than 600 comments all spam. At least I was forced to believe they were all spam; love comments though I do, I’m not reading 600 ads for unsavory, illegal “products” thinly disguised as comments to find the one comment that might be out there.

The 600+ set was a pretty big wakeup call. I think my blog has passed some threshold or some new set of comment spammers have appeared and there’s been a sudden jump in comment spam. At any rate, I was finally sick enough of it to get an application key and start using Akismet.

So far – after a few hours – things look pretty good. If you’ve been trying to comment and not seeing your posts show up, now’s a fine time to try again, as I’ll probably see them. If you do post a comment that doesn’t appear, send me a note.

I started Akismet up a couple hours before this post.  When I made the post, Akismet had blocked 10 bad comments.  You can see the current total near the bottom of most pages.

WordPress upgrade

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

I just upgraded to WordPress 2.1.2. Let me know if anything looks too weird.

Mail from beyond the grave

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

The other day I got spam mail from Bucky Barnes. As I mentioned, I’ve been a big fan of Brubaker’s Captain America run, so this pleased me much more than the average unsolicited advertisement.

More network upgrades

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

In addition to all getting the topology set up more sanely, I’ve moved the network allocation functions off onto the WRT54GL. Now computers connected to my wireless can continue to access the Internet even if ylum is down or off-line.

Practically speaking, I put the DHCP server and a lightweight DNS server up on the little router. These are actually part of the same program, dnsmasq, that comes with OpenWRT. The result is that even if ylum is sick for days, or I’m fooling with it, laptops and other local machines can still reach the rest of the world. Hmmmm. Might be a good time to invest in some MXes, though…

In any case all of this should be invisible to the outside world, but makes me a little happier.

Captain America #25

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

There’s been a huge amount of hype about Captain America #25, meaning that there has been a mainstream news story about it. Basically Cap gets shot in the issue and appears to be dying as the book closes. Marvel, trying to make a few bucks and generate some kind of Death of Superman hype, issued a press release alerting the world to Cap’s situation. Because there’s nothing else for the news to talk about, Cap’s latest peril got some air time.

As Mike Sterling points out artfully, superheroes often find themselves in dire straits, so I’m not worried about Cap in any long-term sense. Hell, the last page of the comic indicates its the first chapter of a 4-chapter arc. Cap’s too valuable to Marvel thematically and financially to be gone long.

I was afraid this was going to be some arbitrary Civil War crap that would hijack Ed Brubaker’s so-far excellent run on the title. I’m shocked and delighted to find that wasn’t the case. I mean it is a Civil War tie-in, but I didn’t buy Civil War and I enjoyed the story. Come to think of it, I enjoyed the other Brubaker Civil War tie-in with the Winter Soldier.

In fact the point of this whole post is to praise the excellent work that Brubaker and Epting are doing on the title. They’ve got a convincing Red Skull incarnated in a precarious situation (he’s assassinated in the first issue of the Brubaker/Epting run, without benefit of press release) but still going after Captain America with everything he has, a complex tone featuring everything from today’s fears of terrorism to the Cold War to WWII (can’t be Cap without WWII), and a fantastic grasp of Cap’s history. Better than just having a grasp of the history, they’ve got the guts to turn that history on its head in ways that hasn’t been done. Ever.

Throughout it all they’ve really breathed life into these folks. Because of their iconic nature, it’s really difficult to portray these characters as actual people, but Brubaker’s and Epting’s depiction has been sure-footed and revealing. Both the Civil War tie-ins have had moments of genuine resonance for me, and these are the tossed-off tie-ins. The main run has been even more consistently rewarding.

As I say, I was afraid that issue #25 was a stunt and I was going to be so disgusted I’d leave the book. I’m delighted that the creative team is continuing to keep their senses when all about them are losing theirs.

It’s a good book; give it a look.

What’s in a name

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Apparently Taser, Inc. has made Greg Leyh change the name of my favorite thing.  Behold the Taser Cannon  Lorentz Gun.  It remains the best thing in the world.

The Places in Between

Monday, March 12th, 2007

I’ve reviewed Rory Stewart’s excellent The Places In Between and started The Weather Makers in Bell, Book, and Candle.