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The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

December 2006

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Fri, Dec. 1, 2006 - Another One Bites the Dust

Another One Bites the Dust

After 5 years of faithful service, my first digital SLR, this Fuji S1 Pro, died a quiet death. All it could say was ERR on the display. Researching it on the web, it seemed a common way for it to die, with the digital board being the culprit. Repair estimates seemed to run around $700, and with the camera only worth about $250 if it was working, that's really not an option. So a camera I spent $2500 on in 2001 is now a piece of obsolete trash. I guess this is the big downside of going digital.

Sat, Dec. 2, 2006 - Santa's Coming to Town

Santa's Coming to Town

Walking down the street to the post office this morning company two's fire engine went by. Looks like they have a new recruit. I guess Santa's getting tired of all that cold and wanted a job with action on more than one day a year.

Sun, Dec. 3, 2006 - Raising a Star

Raising a Star

First Sunday in December means it's time to put the lights up on the town Christmas tree. This year we were blessed with pretty good weather for the task. No rain, and the temperature wasn't too bad either for an early morning in December. The tree presented some problems getting the lights around some branches, and there's a big section missing on one side, but we got the job done. Later at night it looked wonderful when it was lit, and then of course we enjoyed the hot cocoa and cookies the town provides after the lighting. Always a great way to kick off the holiday season here in Ferndale.

Mon, Dec. 4, 2006 - Moon over the Gingerbread

Moon over the Gingerbread

Looking on the calendar I saw we had a full moon coming up so with the clear weather that we've been enjoying, I thought I would get a photo of the moon rising behind the Gingerbread. Only problem was it didn't rise where I thought it would from seeing it a few days ago. So rather than getting the front like I had hoped, I had to shoot it from the side, the main problem being that the owners of the Gingerbread didn't plan on this scenario, and only decorated the front with lights.

Thu, Dec. 7, 2006 - Got to get off my lazy ass

Got to get off my lazy ass

When I got up this morning it looked like it was going to be a nice sunrise. I pondered for a few minutes whether I should run to work and grab the camera and then go out to Fernbridge to photograph it. But I talked myself out of it thinking I wasn't going to have enough time to get out there. So when it sun appeared and confirmed my suspicions that it was going to be a great sunrise, I took my little pocket Pentax out on the deck and took this picture. Yeah, it was nice.

Sun, Dec. 10, 2006 - Something Ferny Going On

Something Ferny Going On

Maybe this is why they called it Ferndale? They say a rolling stone gathers no moss, but apparently a rolling 4x4 can gather a few ferns. Found this vehicle in the Ferndale parking lot.

Mon, Dec. 11, 2006 - Timber!


Here's Matt desicating the countryside in the name of decorating the home for the holidays. Althought it looks like he's trying to hide his identity, he did have a valid permit for this endeavor. For only ten dollars you can get a permit to cut a tree in the National Forest, which for an 8 foot tree that is much cheaper than the $60-70 you would spend at the tree lot. Of course there's the extra money you spend on gas and emergency food supplies (don't want to end up like that family in Oregon) so it probably ends up about the same, but it's a whole lot more fun. We drove up to the South Fork Mountains in pouring rain, and when we got to the legal cutting area it turned to snow. Very pretty and it certainly speeded up the selection process. You don't spend a lot of time being picky about your tree when it's 39 degrees and snowing.

Fri, Dec. 15, 2006 - Failed its First Test

Failed its First Test

When we were assembling our green house this summer, one concern we had was how it would survive our winter storms. Apparently, not well. The windows are plastic sheets that are held in with little wire clips and it doesn't take much force to blow them out of the frame. We've located them all and will have to come up with a better way to anchor them. I'm thinking liberal doses of silicone caulking. This damage was from the same series of storms that left Seattle in the dark for several days. Given that we know exactly how that feels, I'll take the damage to the green house.

Sun, Dec. 17, 2006 - Modern Safety

Modern Safety

A current thought in automotive safety is that vehicles are getting so safe that drivers feel too comfortable doing things in their vehicles other than driving. Case in point is this accident. I can't say what was going on in this vehicle before the crash, but it was a nice clear day, on a straight road, and the driver drove off the side of the road and rolled her Ford Explorer several times. Fortunately the effectiveness of side rollover airbags, and child seats protected her and her two children well enough that only minor injuries were received. Got to pay attention out there folks! In the photo the FVFD is righting the vehicle so that it can be towed away.

Mon, Dec. 18, 2006 - Lighted Tractor Parade

Lighted Tractor Parade

Last night was Ferndale's Lighted Tractor Parade, one of my favorite Ferndale events. Lot of entries this year and it was nice to see the Leonardi's back in the fray after a year's absence. Bansen's brought their train back to town and once again won best of show. My favorite was a skidder that carried a sign on the front, "You're a mean one... Mr. Grinch". A skidder is a specialized tractor that is used to drag logs out of the forest. Dragging behind this skidder though was a lit Christmas tree. I would have put a photo of it but it was impossible to show the sign and the tree in one photo, so you'll just have to imagine it, or check out the gallery on the Aesthetic Design & Photography site when I get them up there.

There were two film crews in town videoing the parade, one from PBS and one from the Learning Channel. Both shows will be on later next year some time. I almost thought we were going to have a fire call in the middle of the parade because one cameraman repeatedly kept getting wacked by floats and tractors as he was trying to film closeups. It also ended up being a very cold night for the parade. The parade goes through town in both directions and in previous years I've seen the crowd hang out in pouring rain to watch both passes. This year though after the first pass was completed, the streets cleared. That's Ferndale for you, we can take the rain, but those temperature extremes will get us every time.

Sun, Dec. 24, 2006 - Keeping it lit

Keeping it lit

This year we seemed to have endless trouble keeping our Christmas lights lit. It seemed on any one night either the damp conditions would cause the GFI circuit breaker to trip, or the timer would malfunction and wouldn't turn the lights on or off correctly. Next year I think I'm going to make the switch to LED lights and just run continuous circuit on the garage and really light it up.

Tue, Dec. 26, 2006 - A Lousy Tradition

A Lousy Tradition

I would have liked to spent today's entry telling you about the nice Christmas we had. But in what has unfortunately become a day after Christmas tradition around here, our yard once again became a dumping ground for Williams Creek. Up until today it had been a pretty mild winter, with well spaced storms and the creek hasn't really come up very far. Then last night and this morning a storm hit and from the time I went to work at 9:00 to about 11:00 it went from about half full to overflowing. Lori's herb garden took the brunt of it again and unless the county gets the Salt River dredged and Williams Creek cleared, we may be forced to build a dyke around our house. Something downstream just isn't working and there's no way the creek should have backed up this quickly. I could take this once every ten years or so, but three years in a row is too much, especially since it seems like it's taking smaller and smaller storms to cause the flooding each year.

Wed, Dec. 27, 2006 - hello


Even as much as Lori loves her Macintosh, I don't think she understands this recent purchase of mine. As I mentioned earlier, I have a bit of a computer museum going on in my garage. Starting with my Commodore 64, and an original IBM PC, the progression then moves through a series of Apple Macintosh computers that I have owned. There was one glaring hole in the collection. My first Macintosh, a 512ke, I traded to my boss at Dataphile so he could afford to buy me a more powerful Mac II.

The 512ke was the third model in the Mac progression. The original model, the 128 was replaced by the 512 which was identical other than the increased memory. The 512ke had the newer roms that allowed it to use the 800k floppy disks, and you could attach a hard disk to it.

This model that I bought though is an original 128, similar to the one I used at I-Squared. The cool collector value with the 128 is that inside the case are engraved signatures of the first Apple employees. I got lucky and found one that came with the original MacWrite and MacPaint disks and manuals, the original training tapes, and even a sales brochure. This particular 128 does have a problem with its disk drive so it isn't usable, but it will still have a place of honor in my museum.

Sat, Dec. 30, 2006 - Collingwood Inn

Collingwood Inn

The Collingwood Inn recently got a new paint job so I thought it would be good to take some pictures of it during Christmas. Missed a great sunset on the 29th, but at least it wasn't raining.

Sun, Dec. 31, 2006 - Playing Dirty

Playing Dirty

While I was working on the Sprint, I noticed that several tires were flat on the ATV. It hasn't really been used all year because when we started on the garage, it sat outside and the battery went dead. So I finally decided to roll it out and see if it would start after being on a charger. It didn't but a couple of pulls on the starter rope (yeah for manual backups) it fired up, so I inflated the tires. I thought about just riding it around the yard to run some fresh gas, but then with it being such a nice day I thought I should take it down to the riverbar.

I was unloading it at Fernbridge when a Jeep Cherokee pulled into the parking lot. I noticed them because they stopped so one of the girls could get out a camcorder. Been awhile since I've seen someone using one of those full size VHS cameras that you propped on your shoulder.

The two girls got back in the Jeep and then sped across the parking lot which was my first clue they were going to be a problem later on. The parking lot is dirt, and filled with huge potholes, so speeding across it isn't a good idea. They quickly disappeared under the bridge and I wondered how they made it down so fast because the path got wiped out last year during the flood. About a minute later I started making my way down and found a 4x4 stuck in the mud coming back up. I found a way around it and went looking for where the Cherokee went. I was worried that they might have just driven right off the edge. Didn't find them there, so I set off exploring the bar, figuring I'd find them sooner or later. I just knew I would find them stuck (or worse) somewhere and I figured better now than later when it became a fire department emergency.

I did eventually find them, stuck in a thick layer of river silt, the same stuff that sucks our shoes off in our front yard when it floods. They looked very helpless, so I went off and rounded up a couple of guys with real Jeeps and they towed the two girls out. I suggested they escort them back to the river bar to make sure they didn't get stuck again. When asked what they were doing down on the riverbar, they said they just wanted to try something different. I guess it ended up being a good day to take the quad out.