Updates – 11/27/13

Just things, Music, Outdoors, Uncategorized

I know… it has been a while since I posted so I thought I would post an update with my glass of wine. Tonight’s choice is a 2011 merlot-cab blend from Two Vines. Quite delicious.

It has been cold here lately, and some colder weather is on tap next week. The weatherman has already issued a “Brass Monkey Warning”, which means cold weather is probable so be on standby to bring in the brass monkey.

We have gotten a lot done around here lately. We did a trail reroute and closed the old entrance and did a rehab on it to restore it back to nature. It really came out nice. Signs had to be put up along with a couple of sections of split rail fence. We also worked on a couple of fences and the finished products look very nice. One was a repair/replacement from last year’s car fire in the parking lot. The other one was to block off an area to protect the vegetation.

We are out doing some bird surveys on the Spit, checking out what has migrated in and getting counts on the different species here on the refuge. It is pretty interesting to see thousands of birds at once. It really shows you the importance of places like this when you see vast numbers of a variety of wildlife species.

I am going out birding with a friend next week. He is going to show me some local birding spots and maybe see a few new birds I have not seen yet.

My training in Hawaii is back on for next year so I will be posting pics when I get them taken! I am pretty damn excited to go!

I re-upped my rec center membership and have been working out nearly every night (except for the night I had a pissed off hamstring… I think it just wanted to get in the whirlpool and took me with it). I took off last night since I forgot my gym shorts but did some walking today to make up for it. Tomorrow is just going to be written off being Thanksgiving and all, plus the rec center is closed. I may try to get out and do some walking to atone for my food sins. Friday I will be back at it again.

I might have some more music posted soon… if I would just get my ass in gear and get it done. I just wrote lyrics for one song I had already recorded a rough demo of and had some ideas for. I just started lyrics for another as soon as that one was done. I do not have the music for it yet, but I have some ideas for what to do with it. I think it might be interesting if this all comes together like I plan. What I want to do is pretty ambitious to do and it will take some time to get it put together. I do have individual bits and pieces that I have already recorded so it is just a matter of a few more lyrics, organizing, recording, and more organizing.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Ghostery Usage Update

Just things, Uncategorized

Well, after using Ghostery for my web browser it is interesting to see just how we are tracked and how MUCH we are tracked. It seems that most sites you visit have about 8-11 tracking items that pop up in Ghostery. Most of the websites seem to work fine using it to block the tracking. There are a few, however, that will not. One is the KING5 website in Seattle; it is too closely tied in with Facebook, so the news stories will not show up unless you disable the Facebook trackers. I would hope that all website admins would kill this feature – they could lose website hits. I will be looking for a new Seattle news website that doesn’t do this.

Another wonderful benefit is that it will disable most of the comment blogs after news stories so you are not sucked into reading ignorant comments made by The Brain Trust trolls who think they know all regardless of the topic and the fact that they cannot spell.

I will not stop using Ghostery now that I see what is going on behind the scenes… well, as much as we know about.

Motorcycle Ride – 11/13/13

Adventure, Motorcycle, Outdoors, Travel

For this week’s SECOND adventure I took another bike ride. As always there was no particular destination, but it ended up being a long day and a really great ride.

I decided Tuesday to go for a ride Wednesday since the forecast looked decent. I got out of bed and got ready to go after a quick breakfast. I headed into Sequim to gas up and on the way in I was torn. The sky to the west was clear and beautiful; to the east were a few clouds but still looked good. I decided to go to Port Townsend and get on the ferry to Whidbey Island and ride around to see what was there. A new adventure in a new area I had not yet been to.

I went eastbound on 101 and ended up passing a car on the highway driven by some friends. I know them from the Refuge… they are volunteers here. They have been doing some camp hosting and I knew they had been home and were heading back to their duties. I waved to them, but was not sure if they could recognize me through my full helmet.

I got over to the ferry terminal, paid my fare, and parked and went inside the small building for a minute to look around. When I came back out my friends were pulling in. We chatted while waiting for the ferry. They were heading up to Anacortes to check on their boat in the marina up there. They invited me up for a visit and to see their boat. They were going to be at their boat about an hour or so, and I told them I did not know what I was doing, but you just never know…

We got on the ferry and chatted some more. They showed me some points of interest on Whidbey Island. They had camp hosted at Fort Casey, which is right next to the ferry terminal. They also gave me some hints about a couple of shortcuts to avoid some traffic. After a 30 minute ferry crossing it was time to disembark so down to the car deck we went, me to my Honda and they headed off to their 4Runner.

Heading north on Whidbey Island I was really surprised about how different it felt. It is a beautiful place… nice two-lane twistys through some spectacular scenery and gorgeous farmlands. It definitely seems like a whole different place there. I have noticed that about Washington State, however. Everyplace I have been is very unique and different than the last place I went through… and there is nothing wrong at all with it. Many places I have been one town looks the same as the last and the next, but my experiences here have been to the contrary and I really do like that quality a lot.

I got to Oak Harbor and was hungry. I was looking for a salad, and I went past a sign-spinner for a pizza buffet at “Louie G’s” for $7.99. To justify stopping there, I quantified it by proclaiming to myself “I bet they have a salad bar with that pizza”. Sure as hell, I was right. The pizza was excellent, and I had two big salads to make up for my glutenous (and gluttonous) sins. Well worth the money spent.

I decided to try to get to Anacortes before my friends were going to leave their boat. I took off and went north on eastbound state highway 20. The Magna was running great after the fixes I did to the idle and cooling, and it is an absolute pleasure to ride this motorcycle. It is heavy – about 600 pounds, but 1100cc of asphalt-shredding fury move it along just fine. I am still learning about the handling of the bike – I am pretty sure I have the power and performance of it pretty well understood 😀 – and these roads are a blast to ride on. Heading down the road I saw military aircraft taking off. I believe one was a P3, and the others were jet fighters, maybe F-16s. Those F-16s are so loud taking off. I bet that gets old in a big hurry if you live nearby. One went directly overhead and the sound was just incredibly loud inside my helmet.

I finally got to Anacortes and found the marina where they are moored. Nobody was at the boat, so I went back to the bike and just looked at the boats docked. It really is a beautiful sight. Some of the boats are gorgeous. I called them up and they were actually just finishing up their lunch a few blocks away. They came over and we went over to their boat. It is really pretty cool to see inside one of those. It has beds, heat, and a stove in a compact space. I was always curious how they looked inside so now I know. They offered to take me sailing after the first of the year, and of course they had to twist my arm to say “yes”. I cannot wait!

It was time to part ways yet again – they were back to their gig, and I needed to get back to Coupeville to catch a ferry back to the Peninsula. Anacortes is a really nice place, and I will definitely be back up to visit again. Maybe I will ride up for the Oyster Run 2014. We all left, and I started back after gassing up the bike. It has been a good day so far, and I get to ride some more on this beautiful island.

I got to the ferry terminal and had to wait about 45 minutes. It got a little cooler as the day wore on and it was going to be not only dark, but also quite cool on the way home. I knew it would be cool so I had plenty of layers to wear so I wasn’t too worried about that. The darkness was my main concern only because of the deer on the roadway. I hear deer and bikes do not mix real well.

I got off the ferry and started toward home and noticed it was awful dark. My headlight is always on (wired from the factory), and my running lights were lit. I discovered that my low-beam had burned out sometime during the day. I apologize to all of the drivers I may have blinded with the high-beam on my bike, but I had no choice but use it to get home.

I rode somewhere around 160 miles Wednesday. Not many miles for being gone all day, but it is quality and not quantity when riding in areas like this. You always have to take the time to stop and see things in your travels no matter the distance you venture. Another plus is the bike is getting about 42-43 MPG. Not bad for a bike this big, and definitely better than the 18 my car gets. That helps make for some cheap fun and travel.

Here is a link to a few pics I took: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnflaherty/sets/72157637675448203/. Riding alone it is difficult to get many pics without stopping so I do not get to take many while riding. A helmet or bike-mounted GoPro would be cool, plus they shoot video! Maybe someday I will be able to get one.

Life is good!

They Can See You… So Poke Their Eyes With A Sharp Stick

Just things, Uncategorized

Whilst opening up Firefox to check out a website, they had a link to download an extension that runs in the background of the browser that shows you hap much tracking is going on as you surf the net. You install it, then open the window by clicking on the icon on the lower right corner of the browser window.

I thought it would be interesting to see who is tracking what I am doing so I installed it and opened it up before I impend up a website Damn… I had 5 on the first click, and then 4 or 6 more joined in on the tracking. Most, unsurprisingly, were Google. Seeing this pissed me off. I do not use any Google searches for that very reason, so why were the tracking me on a “Bing” search engine? I have to figure out how to get around this.

Well, I was looking at a Macworld magazine and saw an article about a Safari extension called “Ghostery”. It is free and blocks all of these things. Of course I have downloaded it and it is showing me what is being blocked. It is amazing and I wish I would have seen this a long time ago.

I would suggest everyone download this for your choice of browser so hopefully it will at the very least send a message we are not going to go quietly.

Hey, Google. You suck.