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December 31, 2006

Moonlight Hikes

GOPS by Moonlight
I'm about to kick off a six-month, seven-moon string of moonlight hikes with GOPS (where we do it with clothes on). Tim, the usual moonlight hike leader, is taking a sabbatical to lead an Adventure Cycling tour across the U.S. (among other things).

Coming up on Wednesday, January 3, I'll be leading a moonlight hike starting at 7 PM. Meet at the eastern end of the Rimrock shopping center at Gene Autry and East Palm Canyon in Palm Springs. Non-members pay $2. Bring a flashlight (probably unnecessary) and water (necessary).

I'm looking for suggestions for locations for future moonlight hikes. Here's my list of places so far:

  • Rimrock
  • South end of the South Lykken
  • North end of the South Lykken
  • Pushawalla ridge
  • Magnesia Falls, Palm Desert
  • Painted Canyon
  • Garstin trail

Where I don't want to lead moonlight hikes: Museum Trail, any part of the North Lykken.

Obviously, a vista point is a nice objective for any moonlight hike. A spot with a view of the valley lights is a great place to stand and socialize. But if you've got a flat place to suggest, I'm open to it. The trail should be easy enough to follow in moonlight that we don't risk a lot of injuries. Moonlight hikes up on Mt. San Jacinto don't work well because the tram stops running at 9:30 PM (or thereabouts). This time of year it's too cold up there for me, and when it's warm enough the tram schedule prevents us from enjoying a real night hike.

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | December 31, 2006 at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

Bush Not Alone

Along with the president (who was indeed cutting brush and riding his bike – issue of horsing around unaddressed) 500 members of Congress have skipped Ford's state funeral. Six supreme court justices are staying at home, along with all but two members of the cabinet! The article points out that Bush also skipped Reagan's funeral, but he was at the G8 conference that time.

Perhaps some of these non-attendees need to be reminded that Betty Ford is still quite definitely among the living and she knows ALL the dirt!

| permalink | December 31, 2006 at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

4 Gb Flash Drive For $17.98

At OfficeMax. Go for it.

Filed under Shopping | permalink | December 31, 2006 at 06:37 PM | Comments (3)


DailyLit is a way to surreptitiously goof off at work while expanding your mind. Non-workers may want to use it too. You can sign up at DailyLit to have them e-mail you a daily chunk of one of the public domain books they stock. A chunk is supposed to be readable in five minutes. You can control the frequency at which you get the e-mails. And it seems to be entirely free.

Filed under English | permalink | December 31, 2006 at 06:33 PM | Comments (0)

The Catacombs

A 1978 article in Drummer about The Catacombs in San Francisco, a fisting club. No photos.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | December 31, 2006 at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)


Stephen Colbert drops his character for an appearance at Harvard.

| permalink | December 31, 2006 at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)


Chunk of marijuana
By LA Scumbag. You may also be interested in these Flickr pools: Legalize It, Pot Smokers Unite, Stoner Culture, Cannabis, 420, Marihuana and 4:20.

Filed under Photography | permalink | December 31, 2006 at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

Is That Smaller Than A Breadbox?

I link to this only mildly interesting story that equipment willl be placed on taxicabs in NYC to map cellphone dead spots, because the unidentified author (FoxNews) was so geeky as to describe the equipment as "about the size of a computer modem." Other geeks might wonder if he means an internal or external modem, but most readers will own computers that had a modem built in when they bought it, so all they know (if they know they have one) is that it must be smaller than the box of the computer itself. Maybe he had originally written it as "about the size of a cigarette pack," only to have his editor reject that as somehow politically incorrect.

Filed under Technology | permalink | December 31, 2006 at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2006

Naked Guy - NY Times Magazine

Uh, dunno why it took so long, but [fixed link] NY Times magazine has an obituary for Andrew Martinez, The Naked Guy, along with a good photo I'd not seen before.

Filed under Naturism-Nudism | permalink | December 30, 2006 at 10:17 PM | Comments (4)

Kansas City Unsafe?

"Kansas City and its suburbs last year had a higher violent crime rate than many of their peers, including metropolitan St. Louis, Denver and Minneapolis." And again compared to its vaguely unidentified "peers" public opinion says "Nearly half of Kansas City respondents said they felt crime was a bad problem outside their neighborhood community." But that's outside their communities...so home is safe, but they read about crime elsewhere??

| permalink | December 30, 2006 at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Jenny, Coming From Boston

It tells you how slow airline travel is these days that I can read blogposts of Bostonians trying to fly to Palm Springs before they actually get here.

Filed under Travel | permalink | December 30, 2006 at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

Getting All Anal

The long-time reader will recall that back in February 2005 I finished painting the concrete floor in my "storage room" (an otherwise nearly useless third bedroom). Then, instead of organizing it, I moved all my still-packed boxes and bikes and junk into it. I probably had visitors coming. Two or three weeks ago I finally got around to emptying the room and starting to set up shelving. When I saw that I needed a couple more legs for the setup I visualized, I had to order them from The Container Store. Their nearest store is in Pasadena, which is more than a couple gallons of gasoline away.

Now today I have gotten all the shelving put together. I am missing only one part - actually just half a part, but I can fake it until I get that. I took a couple of photos to both please and irritate the anal retentive reader. The pleasure comes from seeing an empty room with shelving all ready. The irritation from the fact that I didn't put the shelves in all symmetrically. It wasn't until after I took these photos that I vacuumed off the dust which I had carefully brought with me from Boston. It's stickier than desert dust.

Shelving (4605)
Shelving (4606)

You'll get no "Before" photos from me, but I have friends who've seen it in its piled-up state. All those piles are sitting around in my living room right now. Next half of the project.

Filed under Photography | permalink | December 30, 2006 at 03:36 PM | Comments (1)

WW3 In Soviet Eyes

The government of Poland is opening up formerly secret Warsaw Pact archives. We learn that they thought that in the event of nuclear war, NATO forces would bomb Poland out of existence.

| permalink | December 30, 2006 at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

Middle East Empires

An interesting flash site that illustrates the various empires and conquerors who have swept across the middle east since 3000 BC, from Pbru12 via Jaime.

Also see their History of Religion.

| permalink | December 30, 2006 at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

Top Ten Of 2006

Flickr has this thing called interestingness which is an algorithm that is supposed to get around the obvious shortcomings of mere popularity. Good intent, but the guys at Flickr, as good as they are, are not Google. Interestingness can be pretty easily manipulated, and generates results that I don't agree with. Nonetheless, it's a thing I can use. And here I'm going to use it to highlight My 10 Most "Interesting" Public Photos Uploaded In 2006! These ARE public, but interestingly (ha ha) enough there's a lot of flesh, so it's up to you if this is SFYW (Safe For YOUR Work).

Hole In The Wall
Dore Alley
Dore Alley
Dore Alley
Observation Point
Zion N.P.
Mecca Hills Sunrise
Mecca Hills

Deep Creek
Deep Creek
Mecca Hills
Mecca Hills
Chess at CMEN
Lower Springs Pool With Water!
Saline Valley

Filed under Photography | permalink | December 30, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Comments (1)

Wahhabism vs. Historical Preservation

Here's yet another thing going on in the middle east to piss people off. Wahhabism's zeal to observe the commandment against idolatry has led to the Saudis destroying all historically significant structures in Mecca. The birthplace of Mohamed himself is about to be bulldozed.

...finds by a Lebanese professor, Kamal Salibi, which indicated that once-Jewish villages in what is now Saudi Arabia might have been the location of scenes from the Bible, prompted the bulldozers to be sent in. All traces were destroyed.

This depressing pattern of excavation and demolition has led Dr Angawi and his colleagues to keep secret a number of locations in the holy cities that could date back as far as the time of Abraham.

Filed under Architecture,Religion | permalink | December 30, 2006 at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2006

Gerald R. Ford

I'm back from paying a visit to St. Margaret's in Palm Desert where Gerald Ford is in repose. It was a 3½ hour opeartion, about 3 hours of spent just waiting to go through security at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden...and I'd gotten there before the worst of the crowd. All that for one of the briefest visits to a church I've ever made. As our bus pulled up to the church I overheard parents advising their kids to pray as they walked because they wouldn't be allowed to stop, and they were right.

I didn't realize I'd get these nice little souvenirs just for visiting:

St. Margaret's - FrontSt. Margaret's - BackGerald Ford - BackGerald Ford - Front

I've also got a few photos of the 747 waiting at Palm Springs airport to take Ford to Washington tomorrow.

Presidential Plane (5054)Presidential Plane (5056)Presidential Plane (5055)Presidential Plane (5057)Presidential Plane (5058)

Filed under Coachella Valley | permalink | December 29, 2006 at 10:11 PM | Comments (2)

Bush Blows Off Ford

Bush (the current President) will stay at home in Texas, pretending to cut brush or just riding his bike, rather than fly to Washington for Ford's state funeral. Well, we'll just have to put that on a sticky note so we can be sure the same respect is shown to Bush, if he gets a state funeral.

| permalink | December 29, 2006 at 09:43 AM | Comments (3)

Rover Software Update

The Mars Rovers were originally scheduled to explore the red planet for 90 Martian days. They've been at it for three Earth years now...so they are nearly as old as Windows XP. For a birthday present, they've been sent a software upgrade. New features will include:

  • The ability to recognize dust devils and clouds. This will allow the Rover to crop a photo down to just the dust devil or cloud and transmit the smaller image back to Earth, economizing transmission time.
  • Visual target tracking, which allows the Rover to pick out a rock (for example) and head for it. Doesn't seem hard to you, does it, but consider that the Rover needs to be able to recognize it as the same rock while the appearance of the rock changes during approach.
  • "Go And Touch" which is NOT the ability to smoothly integrate into a Martian orgy (if one is found). No, this allows the Rover to decide where it's going to place its "contact instruments." Until now this has been controlled from Earth.
  • Greater autonomy through improved mapping. Until now the Rovers could only plot one step ahead, so if they ran into an obstacle all they could do was back up and randomly try a different step, sometimes getting stuck and requiring directions from Earth. Now they will be able to plot several steps ahead to avoid obstacles, or at least have better skill at retreating and rerouting.

Planned future enhancements include using the Rovers to distribute non-DRM MP3s. NASA thinks that the RIAA will not be able to sue a Martian server successfully.

Filed under Science,Technology | permalink | December 29, 2006 at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2006

Delightful New Product

Banana Bunker
That is the "Banana Bunker"
, which is designed to protect your banana — the tropical fruit kind — from being squooshed in your lunch bag. Only $5 each, or five for $20.

Filed under Shopping | permalink | December 28, 2006 at 09:33 PM | Comments (1)