A splash of color

Fire hydrants

For reason which I can’t explain – and the specifics of which I am unaware (yes, I’m a fount of knowledge) – it appears that our town, Mt. Prospect, IL is having some sort of decorate a fire hydrant contest.

I first noticed some non-standard colored hydrants a while ago, and – as I started to pay more attention – I began to see more of the same.

And some efforts are pretty good.

The two hydrants pictured (click pic for larger image) are my current favorites, both are a mix of color and whimsy. Nicely done.

Just did some digging – the hydrant contest is part of the village’s 100th anniversary celebration. OK, that makes sense.

Sam Shepard – RIP

Sam Shepard died today at 73.

He was more of a playwright than anything to me, and I’m not a theater guy that much.

THAT said, he was great in the Grisham movie The Pelican Brief and other acting roles. He was extremely versatile, to say the least. Playwright, director, actor.

But I loved his writing. This is from “True West” – so well written:

So they take off after each other straight into an endless black prairie. The sun is just comin’ down and they can feel the night on their backs. What they don’t know is that each one of ’em is afraid, see. And then keep ridin’ like that straight into the night. Not knowing. And the one who’s chasin’ doesn’t know where the other one is taking him. And the one who’s being chased doesn’t know where he’s going.

Update 8/6/2017: My Buddy. A remembrance of Shepard by Patti Smith published in The New Yorker. Reminiscent of the prologue to Smith’s Just Friends, her memoir about Smith’s long-time relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Our weekend – Art fair and Hindu temple

Geneva, IL Art Fair 2017
Geneva, IL Art Fair 2017

Barerel+Rye
Barerel+Rye, Geneva, IL

Patten House Restaurant
Patten House Restaurant, Geneva, IL

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Bartlett, IL

Over the weekend, Romy and I headed down to Geneva, IL for its annual art fair. We usually go on Saturday, but due to the threat of rain, we went on Sunday.

It was a nice day – clear skies (until we got home, when it poured) – but very muggy. It seems like it’s always hot and muggy for this fair, but it’s always at the end of July, so what did you expect?

It’s usually a good show – five blocks of a north/south street shut down with booths on either side if the street. Lots to look at.

We ended the pass of the one side, and with the sun and humidity, it was time for a beer. So, of course, I pulled out my smartphone and looked for a tavern (what did we do before smartphones? I guess we had to, you know, “plan” stuff..). Worked out perfectly – the Barrel + Rye was right behind the tent we were standing next to.

The bar was OK – I had a good beer on tap, and the food I saw served looked solid (bar food: burgers, fries and such, but a little inventive). However, the real draw of the place – if you’re into this (I’m not) – is their extensive drink list, specializing in shots of all manner of bourbon, rye and scotch. Rows and rows of choices.

Refreshed, we hit the second half of the fair.

It was a pretty good show – we didn’t get anything, but that’s not the point. For us, it’s to get out and see something different. Geneva did not disappoint.

For lunch, we passed on the Mexican restaurant we’ve gone to – and enjoyed – the last couple of years, Sergio’s Cantina (recommended), instead trying a place I spotted online, The Patten House. This is a historical house that was renovated into a restaurant – a Cajun restaurant – a few years back.

Turned out to be a good choice – both of us said we’d go back there again. A little on the pricey side, but good food and a nice atmosphere. (But I still think that it’s weird that they only have a Facebook page, with no web site/menu listing. They’ve been around for a few years now. Whatever…)

In an odd stroke of luck, on the way home we stopped at a place I has spotted on Google Maps that looked interesting: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a very ornate Hindu temple. Didn’t even know it existed.

Pretty extraordinary – the expansive grounds, the visitor center (Haveli), and the oh-so-intricately carved temple, the Mandir – both inside and out. I wish I knew a little more – as in basically anything – about Hindu relision and culture. Probably would have gotten more out of the visit.

The location has its rules – which is fine – but it costs nothing to enter, everyone is very polite, and the temple is really remarkable. Intricate carvings galore, and dropped into a wooded area in Bartlett, IL. Who’d have thunk?? I’ll be adding some shots to the gallery as I get to it.

Happy Bday iPhone!

Yes, the iPhone is now 10 years old.

Like a lotta things, it seems to be way older and – at the same time – “it’s really a decade old??”

Like/hate the iPhone – and all other smartphones since 2007 – this was a game changer.

Will – in the next decade – smartphones seem like novelties, like flip phones and MP3 players?

Probably.

But what replaces the smartphone??

Ah, that is the $100 billion question..

Out with the old Linux

Linux

Out with the old – for me, original – Linux server.

In February 2006, I turned this old Dell (P3) Windoze box into a Linux server.

  • First try to – by myself – build out a Linux server.
  • I actually bought a RedHat Distro (Kernal 6.2). It came with stickers, one of which I proudly attached to the front of the desktop.
  • I put everything on the box that should be expected – vi, Perl, PHP, mySql, FTP server, FTP client, sendmail and so on
  • Over the years, I added other not that unusual but not usual stuff: PostgreSQL, imagemagick, Python (at the time non-standard).
  • Learned mySql replication (easy, but fragile)
  • I ran a lot of shell scripts off this box (another skill acquired); messed with Apache & mySql & PHP ini files. I basically taught myself a LOT by playing with this box.
  • By 2013, space (only 40G) on this box was becoming an issue. Purchased new Dell (1TB drive) and made it a modern Linux box (again, I built the software of it myself – install, configs, crontab and so on). Then I slowly moved all OLD Linux box functionality to NEW Linux box

So – at this point – the old Linux box is a nice memory, but it’s unnecessary. I’ll be taking it offline this weekend.

It’s kinda sad – look, a floppy drive, a Zip drive, look at the built-up cat hair hanging from … almost everywhere…

But let’s look forward….

Update 7/2/2017: Took box offline….for the last time. Sigh!

Yahoo! be gone

Yahoo

All of the websites owned by Yahoo are now officially part of Verizon. And former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who famously left Google to take over the Purple Portal, is walking away from the company with a pretty sweet deal. Nearly $260 million.
Marissa Mayer leaves Yahoo with nearly $260 million

Kind of a sad day for the internet – Yahoo! is sorta gone (will be part of the AOL/Yahoo company Oath, which is … currently, icky).

End of an era, that’s for certain…as someone who’s been on the intertubes since before the web…*sigh*….

How I feel today

So they take off after each other straight into an endless black prairie. The sun is just comin’ down and they can feel the night on their backs. What they don’t know is that each one of ’em is afraid, see. And then keep ridin’ like that straight into the night. Not knowing. And the one who’s chasin’ doesn’t know where the other one is taking him. And the one who’s being chased doesn’t know where he’s going.

— Sam Shepard, True West

TV Series – Season Three is the marker

White Collar 3

Last weekend I was bored and looking for some TV shows (on DVD) to watch.

I stuck in a bunch of shows that I liked, and here is my take-away: Season Three nails it; is sorta the peak of the shows.

It may well be that the shows continue on and do well, but most series never get better – overall (yes, totally objective) – than season three. First season is the set up; season two is the changes (dropped/added characters). Season Three – Hopefully got the grove….

Sample of same from SEASON THREE this weekend:

  • Covert Affairs: Last few episodes. Great.
  • White Collar: Middle of season; solid.
  • Parks and Recreation: This show went all over the place – the last two seasons were great, but season 3 is where it really hit its stride. Season One was sorta a mess – season two is the real beginning of the show.

Outliers? The West Wing season 4 is – to me – better than season 3. But the first few episodes of season 2 are some of the best television ever. *Shrug*

Again, just my opion.

Spring cleaning – internet hardware

Yes, I’m in the midst of going through years of “internet” crap (I really have two boxes of keyboards? Really? [yep]). In our town, we have a pretty good electronics recycling program, and I am filling boxes of stuff ready for when they open in April.

Hence the Spring cleaning – keyboards and beyond – I have a crapload of stuff that I don’t need…and why do I still have it??

For example: Much of the boxes’ contents I’m going through dates back to 1997, so some observations – per gathering of crap over the last 20 years.

GSB phone cord
  • I have way too many cables. Just log off Amazon Prime and check around the house! USB. HDMI. RJ-15. RJ-45. Computer power cords (with the sorta trapezoid three-prong female end). Cords R Us!
  • I has surprised at how much telephone equipment – cords, adapters, splitters and so on I had stashed around the office. But I did begin the whole intertube journey via twisted copper and modems (screech!!!!), so I guess it sorta makes sense. But why do I have a phone line extension cord from my bank? (See picture.) Different times.
  • Found an old Cue cat in the debris. Remember Cue cat? Some do. It’s a keeper.
  • The lack of standards on connectors (or wealth of options) – or cables – is a constant source of frustration. Just computer to video screen: VGA, DIV-X, HDMI, Display Port. And this is getting messy in the mobile world, as well – I’ll be happy when most everything is USB-C or whatever. Pick one. Any one.
  • Routers…so many routers. It seems that each router I purchase lasts fewer days than the one that it replaced. On the other hand, I buy (metal) Netgear switches and they just last and last – maybe the older ones are not as “zippy,” but it’s for a LAN. They are fast (enuf) and, well, don’t die. Yay!
  • I still hoard some stuff: When I roll off an old computer, I’ll often save the fan and – sometimes – other stuff that might die on a future or older computer: ribbon cables, stand-alone NICs. But never power supplies, RAM or other chips. The “but never” stuff in the previous sentence is part of the electronics that I had collected, but are now in the recycling box.
  • Hard drives: I either hang on to them or totally, physically destroy. I’m not paranoid about leaking my info, but I know enough that hard drives should, shall we say, not be offered to the public. NOTE: The ones I destroy (drilling, breaking plattens) go to recycling.

Bottom Line – I finally got around to sorting through the piles/boxes of stuff in my office. Organized (to some degree) the stuff I wanted to keep; boxed the “heave-ho” stuff. My office is suddenly spacious. Success!