Happy long weekend people… hope it was enjoyable for you. We had a great time, and made sure to temper any “word” with plenty of do-nothing relaxation. Looking forward to another short week now, leaving early Friday morning for Taiwan. I’m excited, although I haven’t really prepared for the presentation I’m giving… I guess it’ll be another last-minute cram thing – at least I’m used to it. Bring it on.

Gold mining this weekend was a bust, but a fun bust. Camping was awesome, the weather was great and there weren’t many others out there so we had some privacy. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. There’s a certain draw to car-camping… being able to throw all the amenities in the truck and drive right to your spot. We had the big tent, the air mattress, camp-chairs, soap, etc. You get the good food, the coolers full of beer, all the luxuries of home. I brought my pipe, wore my ridiculous (but dearly beloved) crushable felt cowboy hat, and spat sunflowers seeds while dozing under the sun. As for the mining, after some trial and error, the pump and motor worked perfectly – pumping large volumes of water. I, however, had chosen to leave my grandfather’s true sluice at home, since it was nearly 30ft long and somewhat cumbersome being made of heavy tin. I opted, instead, to bring a small plastic store-bought sluice which I knew would likely be too small for the volume of water moved by the pump. I was right as, even on the lowest throttle setting, there was too much water on the sluice, and it washed away everything you dumped on the sluice. For the sluice I brought, we’d have been better off just bucketing the water ourselves. So, although Pat and I were particularly happy with the pump assembly working, in the end we resorted to simply panning on the shore. Panning is fun, it’s got the same sort of tranquil attraction that fishing does. If we decide to do it again, I’ll bring the full sluice and set it up right… it’s a big operation. For some action-shots with the equipment, you can browse through Ben’s gallery.

What do you guys think about Kanye’s little ad-lib on the NBC benefit show for Katrina victims? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can watch it here. Watching the video, it looks to me like Kanye had likely thought about what he wanted to say before he got up there, but his nervousness in actually going through with it was evident. It looked to me like he was fumbling at first, seemingly forcing out the words. After he got rolling and picked up a little steam, he was fine (although it still wasn’t the most polished speech). The plainfaced delivery of “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” was pretty stinging. For me, simplifying the situation to black vs. white is shortsighted and dangerous – I’d say it’s more poor vs. rich; an issue of class, not race. If you order an evacuation of a city, it somewhat stands to reason that that city’s poorer and less fortunate will likely be the least able to leave. With perhaps no money to travel or stay somewhere else, and perhaps nowhere else to go – it’s conceivable that those who struggle with poverty would simply not have the ways or means to get out of harm’s way. I suppose any administration would expect a good deal of criticisms in the aftermath of a national disaster – some of which may be legitimate gripes, others just using the situation to their advantage. Just seems to me that this country should have some sort of infrastructure in place to be able to respond to worst-case situations like this. Whatever; I could be wrong, too.

Installed the latest Gallery2 release candidate last night, and am very pleased. The install process is 100 times better and easier than the previous 1.x versions. The administrative features look simplified and more organized too – and things just seem to “work” more than they did in the previous versions. Now that things are chugging nicely, and the program isn’t so tough to use and optimize – I’m hoping to utilize it for all my upcoming photo uploads. I gave up using the 1.x versions because there was just so much heavy lifting involved. Oh, the old version worked, and looked pretty dang slick, but I didn’t have the patience to take the time and put in the effort to use it right. So, I gave up posting images to the web really… just didn’t do it. We’ll see what happens.

Fall is in the air folks, it really is. Did I say that already? I know it because, today, I bought the first ingredients in the makings for Halloween 2005. Oh man, I’m pumped. Unlike last year, there are no major new purchases, really, just some more black lights (you can never have enough black lights). Like last year, there will be a new “major” prop addition – this year’s being a variation on this theme. (I plan on modding some of the setup, maybe making a different looking coffin.) Ahhh… Halloween… Wal Mart has its candy aisle up already, and the Halloween store is moving into the outlet mall this week. I took a look at my three-year-old gravestones and graveyard fence today, and decided it’s time to make a new fence and touch up the old tombstones as well as fab some brand new ones. Now I just have to get off my butt and actually do some stuff.


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