USPS rocks!

I just received a letter addressed: Michael Galassi next to Steve <my neighbor's last name> Birkenfeld, OR 97016 The town is wrong, Mist, not Birkenfeld, but hey, neither town is large enough to host a post office so we both piggy-back on Clatskanie's ZIP code. The sender didn't know my address, but I'd mentioned living near Steve's place some time back so this just seemed like the natural way to address a letter. USPS just makes it happen, no matter how vague our notion of what we're doing is. Think about it, this is a branch of the US GOVERNMENT. Do I need to repeat that? Yet they take what they do seriously enough to work around any and all little impediments we put in their way.


Words of wisdom

Alan Batie, a good friend of mine posted this to his FaceBook wall. I'm reposting it here so I always have easy access to his elegant presentation of what should be obvious.

A right is something you have inherently, not something someone else gives you. How can you have a right to something which may not even be possible, e.g. no doctor in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Are you going to force a doctor to go there? The concept is... just silly. Society may have a duty to provide some minimum level of care to its members, but individuals do not have a right to force other people to do things for them. There is a big difference.



I keep getting email with disclaimers at the end of them, this is one I got today (emphasis mine):

PUBLIC RECORDS LAW DISCLOSURE: Emails are generally public records and therefore subject to public disclosure unless exempt from disclosure under Oregon Public Records Law.

Emails can be sent inadvertently to unintended recipients and contain confidential or privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient (or authorized to receive for the recipient), please advise by return email and delete immediately without reading or forwarding to others. Thank you.

Does the author of this message think every reader is going to start by going to the end of the message to read the disclaimer? If not, why do they instruct one to delete immediately without reading? Besides, who on earth do these people think they are to shift the burden of determining if I'm allowed to read the message to me? What other decisions do I get to make for them? Since I'm making their decisions for them, I'd like 50% of their salary donated to the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon.


more ghosts

Over and above the ghosts from my past which have caught up to me on FaceBook, a pair of ghosts recently popped out of the blue and contacted me.

A week or so ago, Kathwren dropped me a line to invite me to her parent's 50th wedding anniversary. It was through Katherine that I met her parents (George & Sally) who hired me into my first job writing software. She was definitely a pivotal person in my existence.

Just yesterday Kelly dropped me a line, she is the oldest of three girls in a family I hung out with a lot in the mid 80s. Much went on in those days, some good, some bad, and some forgotten in a haze of pot smoke. My life has changed a lot, I'm certain hers will have too, I wonder if there's any commonality left.

Hopefully I'll get to touch bases with both and at least catch up on where our roads have taken us.



A couple of weeks ago I created a facebook account. Seemed like a dumb idea at the time, but I was feeling pissy as some football player by my name was taking up every instance of "Michael Galassi" on the web and I wanted to stake my spot out where I could. Turns out that facebook isn't a spot I needed to worry about since they support multiple instances of any given identifier, but...

Anyhow, this has been cool. I've located a bunch of people from my past. You're thinking "Duh, that's what facebook is about". But that's not the point, for each of those people I've written down the preeminent thought triggered by their reappearance in my mind. There are exceptions like my brother, there's way too much to write there. I wonder if this is what getting old is all about, starting to live in one's mind as much as in one's space. If you know or knew me, feel free to friend me on facebook, I'm not that picky :-).

Time to abandon the mind and return to my space for a while.



Yesterday a friend asked me for pointers to some podcasts I listen to. Here's the list:

Capital Steps radio shows
BSD talk
BBC farming today
Grammar girl
Science @ NASA
I, Cringely
LKML summary
Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me
Whad'Ya Know
The Onion Radio News
NYT's Science Times
PRI's The World Science
PRI's The World Technology
There is occasional overlap in these 6 from NPR
NPR driveway moments
NPR story of the day
NPR on the environment
NPR on science
NPR science friday
NPR technology

fire expo

Yesterday I went to the Portland Fire Expo with a couple of friends. There were not as many toys as last year, but the real indicator of the state of the economy was that instead of baseball caps and tee-shirts, vendors were giving out candy-bars. Works for me .


catchup post

These have been eventful times, to the point that I've not had time to waste on posting. Here's a catchup post.

This item comes first since it allows me to use the singular in the following items. I thought Sylvia and I had reconciled our most significant differences, it turns out that we hadn't so we've split up effective last night. In many ways it has been a wonderful year or so but we failed to negotiate some of our issues.

Two cats were dropped off by someone or other, clearly domesticated kitties. One is called PB which stands for pre-blender. He's black and white, which in a blender would make him gray like all my other kitties. The other is all black, she's called Porter (think beer). Initially the gender was thought to be reversed, but unless the female is on top in cats PB is a he and Porter is a she. Neither is fixed so as soon as I'm confident that I can trap them both reliably I'll take care of this.

I've been drilling with Clatskanie RFPD and have been loving it. They're a younger and more agressive department so we train much harder. I've also done a couple of night-shifts there and once I figure out the ins and outs I plan on spending at least one night a week there. The ultimate goal is to get enough medical time to make me confident that I can advance my EMT training from basic to intermediate. The down-side to the time spent in Clatskanie is that I now drill every Monday, most Wednesdays, and two Thursdays a month.

Today, in boredom, I wandered up to the station and we got a call for a priority three bleeding. I got to drive (my third signoff, yay). Once there I was the first medical person to establish patient contact. My partner really pissed me off when she barged in and ordered me off to fetch something or other from the medic. Since the patient's family was present I felt it best to just obey even though she was in no sense more qualified than me to handle this patient. Every time I go out on a call with her I end up frustrated.


Fire Play

Last night was supposed to be our fire drill. I got to the station knowing that none of the officers had had time to prepare a drill so expecting a bunch of busy work (yech). Instead I found that we had a mutual aid call to an Elsie Vinemaple commercial fire. I suited up and was on our first engine out. Unfortunately all we got to do was watter shuttle but it beat some possible alternatives. I'm pretty certain that this was worth a couple of sign-offs in my pumper operator task book.

This morning was better, just past 3am we were toned out for a car fire, I was the to radio in and first to the station. I bunkered up and pulled the engine out of the bay. By the time my AC got there we were immediately ready to leave. I drove, which got me another sign-off on my driver task-book. We got there, my AC played engineer for me while I flaked out 200 feet of 1&3/4" hose. She was ready to give me water at exactly the time I needed it, I got the fire knocked down in short order. My chief then showed up but by this time there was just some cleanup left. Once at the station I took the engine for a joy-ride to refill her from a hydrant, I felt more than a bit guilty leaving the white-hats to wash hose, but sometimes that's the way it works.



If this is the funniest thing I see all day, I'll be just fine. If you don't read xkcd.com, you should.

Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'.


Error 8

If you ever get "Error 8: Kernel must be loaded before booting" from grub as you try to boot your fresh Linux install, look very carefully at your grub configuration. In my case the line that should have read:
    root (hd0,0)

instead read
    boot (hd0,0)

You can easily boot by going to grub's command line and typing
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz

or whatever your kernel might be called.


Palin, my hero! Not.

Here's a wonderful sound byte from Palin.
Alaskans depend on wildlife for food and cultural practices which can’t be sustained when predators are allowed to decimate moose and caribou populations. Our predator control programs are scientific and successful at protecting vulnerable wildlife.
Am I the only one who's bothered at the idea of protecting moose from wolves so some Alaskan bimbo can eat it?


blood glucose level

A friend of mine loaned me his BGL test kit and some strips (well, he gave me the strips). This morning I did some poking around.

6:10 BGL is 81 no food since 2PM yesterday
6:10 slam a can of peach juice (42 grams of sugar)
6:25 BGL now up to 127
6:41 BGL starting to fall, at 99
7:10 BGL crashed to 57 slightly light-headed
8:10 BGL has leveled back to 79 feeling OK again, time for some munchies, Top Ramen for breakfast, yum!


Why would you bail out the big 3?

If you ever needed a reason to take that SUV and shove it...
  • Russian gas to Europe 'blocked'
  • Crisis deepens as Russia-Ukraine gas deal unravels
  • Yushchenko: Purpose of gas conflict is to convince Europe of need to develop Nord Stream pipeline
  • Gas supply from Russia 'blocked'
  • Back To Square One In Russian-Ukrainian Gas Dispute

We talk about bailing the big 3 out. How about putting money into Aptera & Tesla instead?
(map borrowed from news.bbc.co.uk)


bringing back the past

Before I started using blogspot I kept a blog elsewhere, I'm now trying to bring forward some of its posts, they'll show up over the next few days. Let me know if there are any broken links.

Middle East

I usually try to ignore the crap going on in the middle east. Today while looking for a weather forecast I accidentally stumbled upon a piece about what's going on in Gaza. What exactly is it that makes Israel recognizable from any other terrorist organization? Did those people learn all about coexistence with other nations from GW?