18 Dec 2006 Monday

Our holiday card for 2006 went out today.  What a long strange trip 2006 has been.  Happy Holidays to all!!

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17 Dec 2006 Sunday

Richard and Kim gave us some venison that Kim’s son Cody got when he went hunting last fall.  We have it frozen in the cooler for the trip home.

We went to church services with Richard and Kim this morning.  It was very warm and friendly, even though it was a pretty big congregation.  They played a lot of music with a modern feel for the first half and a short sermon towards the second half.  After church we moved on to visit with Andrew’s grandmother Rose in Boca Raton.

We got the Boca and visited with Grandma Rose.  True to the Jewish Grandmother image, she fed us constantly.  (My grandmother always did the same thing.  I think all grandmothers do.)

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16 Dec 2006 Saturday


This morning Sue and I did some holiday shopping.  The malls were horrible, but we went early enough to beat most of the crowds.  She is trying to decorate a room in her new house and is having problems.  She said she and John are both engineers, they have no idea how to decorate with frou-frou stuff.  She said for them it would have to be rational and symmetrical. 

Around noon we left to visit with Richard and Kim in Orlando.  The kids are out for the weekend so it’s just us grown ups.  We did a little family catching up over dinner.

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15 Dec 2006 Friday

Left Atlanta heading for Jacksonville, FL.  An uneventful drive was welcome.  We got to Sue and John’s house around five or six.  They ordered out from Carrabba’s Italian for dinner.  I love Italian food!  Sue and I talked about some remodeling thoughts she’s had for her house.

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When we last left our heroes…  We were busy fixing up our travel trailer and getting to know the area.  In our last update, our trailer was naked.  But no more… Teresa put a skirt on her (plywood and insulation around the base of the trailer).  Unfortunately, we didn’t get a decent photo of our newly skirted trailer.  I threw a thermometer down underneath the trailer just for kicks.  It stayed a constant 45° F, even with temperatures outside around 20° F, so that should help us with our heat bills a little bit I suppose.  It definitely looks better, if “better” means “permanent” or “redneck.”  🙂

As it turns out, my fellow nomadic friend, Chris Dunphy along with girlfriend Cherie, were passing through the area just before we had to leave town to head to Atlanta.  We drove Chris and Cherie up to our property, where they set up camp mid-driveway (before the clay) for their visit.  On the way back, we stopped off at our neighbors Lynn and Linda.  At the last minute, all decided to join forces for dinner.  We brought the food and put together a salad while Lynn cooked up some burgers and all six of us had a grand time that evening. The following evening, Chris, Cherie, Teresa, and I had a great time hanging out in Salida.  Chris and Cherie arrived at our property around midnight with temps in the teens.  Yikes!

After Chris and Cherie headed out, Teresa and I hightailed it to Atlanta by way of Edwards.  It was, thankfully, an uneventful trip, taking us through such beautiful sites including Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.  When we got to Memphis, we just had to check out some Southern BBQ.  We hadn’t eaten decent BBQ since we left the South.  So we gave Anita and Phil a call, our friends in Birmingham, and Anita recommend Corky’s BBQ.  And we weren’t disappointed.  Their ribs were amazing.  We spend a night with Anita, Phil, and our stored stuff in Birmingham, Alabama before heading to Atlanta.

Upon arrival, it was a total whirlwind of activity.  Once we arrived in town, I immediately had to “go to work” as best man for my good friend Ken’s wedding.  The bachelor party was fun… neither Ken nor I were in the mood for a mammary review, so the guys spent an evening at Five Seasons Brewing, Whole World Theatre, and Summit Wayside, enjoying outstanding beers throughout the evening.

The wedding was very nice aside from a few immature men who had a thing for Laura and one misbehaving relative.  I tell ya, we all held our breath when the preacher said “speak now or forever hold your peace.”  No one threw anything at me as I gave my speech, which was a good sign too.  🙂  All in all, it was hectic, but lots of fun.  Ken and Laura (and oh yeah, Captain Nemo [dog])… we wish you the best as a new family!

Then the family started to descend for the feast.  I’m still feeling the tryptophan hangover!

We tried to get around to see nearly everyone, which has made for a hectic visit.  From what I hear from others, it is always like this when you come back home for a visit.  We didn’t have our camera all the time, so apologies if you weren’t included below…

Now Teresa and I are headed off to the North Georgia mountains to freeze our butts off in the Cohutta Wilderness.  Afterwards, we plan to melt away in a little cabin in the woods with a hot tub before coming back to Atlanta for one last crazy week before heading off to Florida. 

On the business side of things, we’re both trying to line up some work before heading out of Atlanta.  Teresa has managed to score some potential contract jobs, and I’m still trying to track down some work leads, including one telecommuting opportunity in Denver, but I’m pretty sure something will work out for me.  In any case, it’s nice to know our bank account trajectory will reverse course pretty soon.

On the homestead, we’ve been in contact with a number of new neighbors who have found our website.  We’re pretty much the first thing to come up when searching for “Spruce Basin.”  As such, I have set up a phpbb website for Spruce Basin.  Hopefully this will be helpful in creating an even closer community up on the mountain.

On a musical side note, Teresa and I have been listening to XM radio more and more. We enjoy The Loft (50), Fine Tuning (76), Audio Visions (77), CNN (123) and the BBC World Service (131). While listening to Fine Tuning, we heard some fabulous guitar work by Kaki King. While exploring her fabulous music on the web, I got lost in myspace.com, where all these musicians hang their blog.  Following the various links over to YouTube, Google Video, and then following the comments from there, you can discover some amazing musicians.  I found the following in my searches for two-handed guitarists:

There is some amazing undiscovered talent out there.  Will YouTube, Google Video, and myspace level the playing field?

Hope all of you had a fantastic Turkey day.

On an administrative note, the e-mail alert functionality of our installation of Community Server has been down for quite some time, but it is operating once again.  Thanks for your patience!

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04 Dec 2006 Monday

I talked with some guys I worked with a little over a year ago about contracting.  They left the place we all worked and they started up a business of their own.  They provide drawings for manufacturers of metal awnings for installation and fabrication.  They don’t manufacture anything, they don’t install anything.  They just provide the drawings that others work from.  I can produce drawings from anywhere, even in Colorado, and email them in for approval.  Sweet!  I can’t wait to get started and get back into some routine again.  I went in for a day of orientation.

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28 Nov 2006 Tuesday

 We went for a hike on Kennesaw.  Kennesaw Mountain is the location of some Civil War battles over Atlanta.  It’s a great place to overlook Atlanta, but today it’s kind of hazy.

We caught up with our friend Brenda at her house in Conyers.  We had to play with her dog Rudy and we missed our Simon all over again.  We went out to I Love Sushi for dinner.  It was great, we haven’t had sushi since we left Seattle. 

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Linksys router tinkering

Linksys pretty much started a revolution in cheap networking hardware quite some time ago.  I continuously ran one of their broadband router/firewalls ever since my old linux NAT router got hacked.  (A long story, but the net sum of it: I had failed to properly install a firewall AND was running the ever-hackable WUFTP daemon… I never claimed to be a linux system admin expert, especially at that time!)  About three years ago, Linksys was confronted with the fact that their very popular WRT54G series of routers was running on Linux, GPLed code, with no source code available for download.  A month later, they apparently made the source available.

Fast forward 3 years later… There is now a thriving open source community supporting software for these nifty little boxes, with all kinds of useful features.  I decided to spend some time playing around with DD-WRT on some of my WRT54G’s that I had lying around, including a v6 model, and a v1.1 model.  This process is not for the faint of heart… there were a few times where I thought I had bricked my router.  But after a few hours, I had a working DD-WRT installation on my WRT54G (v1.1) with OpenVPN working.  How cool is that?

One thing is for sure!  I’ll certainly be a bit pickier when it comes to choosing my routers in the future.  These boxes have two types of memory: main memory (temporary use, like the memory on your desktop or laptop) and flash non-volatile memory (where the linux firmware image is stored). I’ll definitely be looking for higher specs now on any routers I purchase, now that I know I can put them to good use.

PS for those of you looking for commercially supported firmware, check out: Sveasoft. See below for more useful links:

What is DD-WRT? (including differing versions available for download)

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23 Nov 2006 Thursday – Thanksgiving

Ahhh.. Thanksgiving.  An American Holiday devoted exclusively to over-eating.  Andrew and I did not join the family for the annual pilgrimage to the Original House of Pancakes for a long wait for a table on hard chairs for the opportunity to eat a fat and calorie laden brunch.  Instead, we had some Chinese leftovers.  Around dinnertime, the turkey came out of the oven with all the trimmings.  It was great to have Grandma Rose join us here in Atlanta again.  We’re going down the Florida to visit her in a few weeks.

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21 Nov 2006 Tuesday


Todd joined us, Jack, Ellen, Grandma Rose and Jean Dinner at Hunan Gourmet for seven.  One dish came out and almost 20 minutes went by before we saw any others.  The rice was cold and tempers were hot.  

21 Nov 2006 Tuesday

Andrew’s Grandma Rose came in town this afternoon from Boca Raton, FL, with her helper Jean.  Andrew and I were out hiking with Laura, Ken and Captain Nemo at Red Top Mountain.  

Later in the evening, Andrew and I joined several friends at our old haunt, Taco Mac in Austell.  We used to have a “Brew-Ha-Ha”, involving a cheap dinner and few brews, every couple of weeks.  It was great to see everyone and catch up.  My throat was getting scratchy from a cold and I nearly lost my voice.  As much as I wanted a good, cold beer, I was drinking hot herbal tea all night.

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