Nov 7

Microwave door latch repair

Category: Uncategorized

Public service announcement: Recently I repaired my GE microwave, model PSA1201RSS 01, which had a strange door latching issue.  The door was extremely difficult to open.  I think it took about 20 pounds of force to open the darned thing. Eventually, the plastic latch broke, and the replacement part was very expensive.  However, searching around the interwebz, I found someone who found that the same latch is sold for a different oven, and it’s only a few dollars.  The replacement latch I used is GE genuine renewal part #WB02X11096 from The new part was very easy to replace; I simply unscrewed the bezel (interior panel of door) and slid the old latch up and down and to the side, moved the spring to the new latch, reassembled (with some synthetic grease) and voila – better than new; it now requires a normal amount of force to open the door.

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Jun 3

icloud not syncing with outlook on PC

Category: Tech-y

Recently, I encountered my quarterly issue with using an iphone with outlook.  I say “quarterly” because this combination is rickety and unreliable, and breaks several times a year, which is to be expected when using software form the two largest companies on the planet.  What are all those thousands of brilliant people on posh campuses doing with their time, exactly, if they can’t keep this stuff working?  It boggles my mind.

That ranting intro is my way of saying that if you’ve arrived here trying to solve your iPhone and outlook problem, it might be similar to the issue described in this post, or it might not.  Good luck. This happens to me multiple times a year, and the problem is different every time.  One thing i can be sure of: the problem is never my fault; solving these issues is my burden for being foolish enough to stop using pen and paper.

Issue: Some event and contact info does not synchronize between the phone and outlook. I can’t see any consistency in how or why some makes it and some doesn’t.  However, what I see on does match what’s on my phone; it’s just that what I see on outlook doesn’t match what’s in icloud.

Solution: in the windows icloud application, sign out.  Let it erase all of the icloud information on the local windows computer (after verifying that it is, indeed, in icloud). Sign in and let it download. Now, all will be right.

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Feb 9

Oahu 2016

Another work trip, with, of course, a little free time.  Not so much this time – work kind of gets in the way sometimes – but i made the best use of what time I had!  Unfortunately I got sick, some sinus thing, and also was very busy so had to curtail my diving – but I did get to go once.


I’ll put a few images up front with captions underneath.  Click to enlarge. To see them all, browse the gallery below.

The California coast

The California coast over LA


The island of Oahu, seen at last after hours of empty ocean. Kauai is in the background.

North shore Oahu

Oahu’s north shore, near “the pipeline” which has such great surf waves.


A surfer on Oahu’s north shore. A few days prior there were record, 40-foot waves, but on this day it was less dramatic.

north shore beachgoers

Beach goers on the north shore. Those waves are something else! The sea is something to be reckoned with here.


Near Kaena point

At Kaena point, on the northwest corner of the island where the trade winds hit the shore, the scenery is dramatic and, for the foolish, quite deadly.

Near Kaena point

Near Kaena point, to the north.

Near Kaena point

Near Kaena point, to the south. This wave was 30 feet tall, but since there’s no perspective, it’s impossible to tell. You can stand there without seeing one of these monsters for a few minutes, and it can sneak up and get you. If you go, pay attention to the rocks; is there water in the holes? If so, watch out.

Near Kaena point

Look at the water’s color where the sun strikes through this wave.

Kaena point, looking south

Kaena point, looking south. This is a fantastic hike, specially if you go at a time with few people. There was almost nobody there when I went, and it was magical. I have visited a few times over the years, and it always delivers.

Whale breaching near Kaena point

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, whales started leaping out of the water. later they came very close, but it was too dark to photograph. A pod of Dolphins and a monk seal were also present.

Waikiki sunset

Waikiki sunset

Green sea turtle

A Green sea turtle off of Hawaii Kai, on the southeast corner.

Green sea turtle

Note the specialized nostril lips.

Green sea turtle

This guy has a tumor, poor dude.

Moray Eel

Often seen, always enjoyed – a yellow margin moray eel, looking scary.

Moray Eel

A yellow margin moray.


This animal, named the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, is the state fish, and yes I can pronounce this!

Pearl Harbor

At the Pearl Harbor visitor’s center, you can see the Missouri at left and the Arizona memorial to the right. I have visited both of these in the past, but not this time.

Japanese torpedo

A Japanese torpedo, found in the mud in the 1990s. It was intact, but after the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) people finished with it, it was damaged, as they had to blow it up.

USS Bowfin submarine

The USS Bowfin, a highly decorated submarine.

USS Bowfin submarine

Up periscope!

USS Bowfin submarine

USS Bowfin submarine

USS Bowfin submarine

USS Bowfin submarine

USS Bowfin submarine

USS Bowfin submarine’s engine room

USS Bowfin submarine

USS Bowfin submarine aft torpedo room

USS Bowfin submarine

USS Bowfin submarine

The 5″ deck gun, used to sink many vessels. DO not forget, if you enjoy this kind of thing – as I do – that these vessels represent not only bravery and performance of duty in the face of hardship, but that also they are the instruments of death, used in a grim struggle. War is hell.


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Apr 17

Mac OS 10.8.5 bash root path

Category: Tech-y

In the case of logging in as a normal user and invoking “su – root” I found that Mac OS 10.8.5’s bash was ignoring .profile and .bash_profile; I was unable to change root’s $PATH by editing those files. What did work was editing /etc/paths. After exiting the root shell and entering again with “su – root” the new path was present.

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Mar 14

Grand Falls

Category: Arizona

Today I went on another visit to a favorite place – Grand Falls.  It lies on the Navajo reservation east of Flagstaff, where the little Colorado river was dammed in antiquity by lava from a nearby cinder cone. The lava dam forced the river to re-route and spill back over the side of its own gorge further downstream, creating a spectacular waterfall.  Arizona climate being what it is, the river’s water level differs radically depending upon the season, so if you want to see a thundering cataract, check the water flow before going.  It’s generally decent if the flow above and below the falls are greater than 150 CFM.

Here are instructions for how to check on the water flow, from Joel Hazelton on

Go to this link:

Scroll down to “Little Colorado River Basin”, and under that you want to look for “Little Colorado River at Winslow, AZ” and “Little Colorado River at Cameron, AZ.” All the way to the right side of the page there should be 3 columns with numbers in them. The center column represents the cubic feet per second. You’ll want to check the cubic feet per second for both of those locations.

Today (7/20), it is flowing at 3.9 cfs through Winslow. In order for there to be a good show of water, it should be flowing at several HUNDRED CFS through both Winslow AND Cameron. Sometimes, after storms or snowmelt, Winslow will be flowing well but not yet at Cameron. It should be flowing well at both gauges, since Grand Falls is between the two towns. There’s always a chance, especially if it is a slower flood during spring snowmelt, that the high water has made it to Winslow but not quite to the falls.

On this day, the flow was a little less than 200 CFM above and below, and it looked pretty good – not as good as I’ve seen in the past, but very impressive. The company was excellent – my friend Juanita, a fellow Flagstaff Freethinker, and my dog Tycho.

Directions: A 4WD or AWD, medium/high clearance vehicle is preferred, but if the weather is good, a car can make it back there – but I wouldn’t do it in a car. To get there from Flagstaff, 40 East to Exit 211(Townsend Winona road) and turn left. In about 2 miles, turn Right onto Leupp Rd. Drive until you are on the Rez (there will be a sign on the right welcoming you to the Navajo Reservation).  Between mile markers 5 and 6, look for road 6910 on the left.  It’s just a washboard dirt road; drive about 9 miles or until you hit the river, where you can stop and park.  Walk up the mound and towards the little shelters.You can also drive right to the gorge by backtracking a few hundred yards and going up the small hill.

The view back towards the peaks is wonderful.

Things were just beginning to bloom:

The upper falls was flowing pretty well, so we knew it would be good when we got to the chasm. One of things I really like about these falls is that if you haven’t seen them before, until you get right up on them, you have no idea how cool it will be.

You can see how the red sandstone is capped with black lava that dripped over the edge.  When in the gorge, the northeast wall is sandstone, and the other wall is black lava that is very crystalline and looks like dark bricks. The volume of lava is very impressive. I read somewhere that it might have come from Merriam crater, which is a few miles away.

The river collects a lot of trash on its trip, and the currents at the falls create a garbage gyre of impressive size.

Tycho was losing his mind because of all the balls: basketballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, beach balls, super bouncy balls, you name it – it was there.

On the way back to the car, a small dog was barking plaintively from an island in the middle of the upper falls.  It looks afraid and lost, but i didn’t know what to do about it.  Suddenly a larger dog burst out of the bushes, swam across the river, and led the small dog back to shore!  When we got back to the car, they were underneath. These feral animals were not violent, but they were afraid.  I could tell they were sweet and lured them out with treats.  I think it was a mother and her juvenile pup. They seemed to desire human company but were incredibly skittish.  Every time I raised my camera, they crawled under the car. When we left, they ran after us for about half a mile.  It broke my heart to leave them there!  But they didn’t look emaciated; they are getting by somehow.  I don’t know if they belong to some ranch out there, but from their reaction to us, I rather doubt it.


Feb 15

A brief hike on the Hangover trail in Sedona

Category: Uncategorized

We (A bunch of people from the Flagstaff Freethinkers) had decided to enjoy the sights of Schnebly Hill Road, but found it closed for the season – a silly bureaucratic event, given the long-standing warm temperatures and lack of snow in the area.  So we went to plan B and did a short out-and-back on the Hangover trail instead.  This trail wanders through the scrub north of Schnebly Holl Road and goes up and over one of the red rock formations for which Sedona is so famous, providing a great overview of Steamboat rock and route 89 which sits in between the trail and that rock. The trail is a loop, but lacking time, we didn’t do the entire thing.

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Feb 11

multi-hop ssh

Category: Tech-y

At work I routinely have to ssh from host A to host B and then to host C.  It is not possible to establish a direct link from A to C, so I’ve been manually establishing a connection from one to the other, which is annoying.  Today I finally got around to setting up a better solution, which depends on having a unix-like system on all nodes. Host A is running Windows with cygwin, and hosts B and C are running Mac OS and Linux. Another assumption is that you have the same user name on all nodes, although there are ways to get around it if you don’t.

1) Add these lines to ~/.ssh/config (which you may have to create).

 Host hostC
        ProxyCommand ssh hostB -W %h:%p

Now, when I type “ssh hostC” on my PC, it hops through hostB and logs into hostC automatically with no further typing.

What is happening is that when you ssh to hostC, ssh substitutes another command for /bin/sh on hostB (which is normally executed by default), and forwards stdin and stdout to this new command (that’s what the –W is for), which is an ssh to rsndds. The effect is to hop through hostB. Because I’ve set up keys without pass phrases on all machines, no password is required. If you don’t have keys set up, it will still work, but will ask for passwords.

If you want to use pass phrases, you can use ssh-agent on hostA and hostB, which will ask only once and then store the keys in memory until the next reset of ssh-agent (probably a reboot).

If you have a different user name on hostB, simply specify it like this:

Host hostC
        ProxyCommand ssh user@hostB -W %h:%p

You can create as many of these special entries in your config file as you wish, each specifying special rules for creating connections to your unique networks. Isn’t ssh cool?

When I started figuring out how to do this, I thought of it as “tunneling,” but technically that’s probably not correct; that name is given to using ssh for encrypted port forwarding.  Nevertheless, you can think of it as a tunnel, allowing you to ssh from one machine to another using an intermediate machine, all without your intervention.

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Jan 12

The San Francisco Volcanic Field

Category: Uncategorized

I love the arid, desolate area north of the San Francisco Peaks.  It’s a high desert environment pocked with volcanic cinder cones of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Many kinds of animals and plants can be fond here, but one thing I don’t usually find is other people.  This is a place where you can spend hours or days on your own, surrounded by spectacular views on all sides.

Here is Tycho after we summited the crater just to the northeast of SP crater, which is in the background on the right. The long winds blew up from the painted desert, keeping the winter storm away for the most part. These craters on on the west side of 89, across from Wupatki. You can tell that Tycho has been mole or prairie-dog hunting.


These photos are from a few hikes taken last weekend with my Flagstaff Freethinker buddies. This is strawberry crater, which has some Anasazi ruins on top. It’s not a particularly difficult or long hike, although the forest road that leads to its base can be rough, specially in inclement weather. Strawberry crater is on the east side of 89, just south of Wupatki.

Tycho tracks.

The endless scrubby terrain inhabited by people since before antiquity.

In the distance, the sun punches through to brilliantly illuminate the Vermilion Cliffs.

The lesser peak of Strawberry crater.






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Dec 6

Thanksgiving 2014

Category: Family

This Thanksgiving I certainly do have a lot to be thankful for.  A beautiful family of recent emergence, and great old friends who are my rock.  I got to visit them both in a 1700-mile circuit from Flagstaff to the Denver area and back. There are too many pictures to feature them all, but here’s a few good ones, followed by the lot.

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Nov 7

Oahu 2014

Category: Hawaii,scuba,Travel

On the tail end of a work trip to Hawaii, I tacked on a few days for myself.  The goal: scuba diving.  There’s a lot of things to do on Oahu, and it’s hard to make a choice, but I focused almost entirely on diving.  Still, I have pictures from around the island – it’s so beautiful, I just can’t help myself.

One of the things I love about flying to Hawaii is how no matter what time it is, you can go to the beach, and that’s always what I do.  Nothing washes away the combined filth and exhaustion of air travel like the ocean. Here’s some scenes from Waikiki:

On another day I wandered around Kakaako beach park, which has a lot of stray cats (and stray people):


Here’s some random images of the shoreline on the east side:

Here’s one from the north shore, where a 40-knot wind fueled perfect, mach-1 windsurfing:

…and finally, of course, the diving! I was having camera problems, so my color balance and image quality were all messed up.

Here’s the outflow pipes at electric beach, which I dived with new friends Zack, Heather and Daniel.

Clouds of fish in the warm outflow.

From another dive, some crappy pictures of sharks… I was playing with a new camera and didn’t do very well.

Some other reef scenes:


…and a lot of other images you can look through if you are so inclined.

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