Fight the Amoral Fight

Vista gadgets

By: sp34n119w, 5:46 AM GMT on November 29, 2008

When I bought my laptop a few months ago I was disappointed that I couldn't get Windows XP pro installed. I had to get Vista and I'd heard nothing but bad things about it. On informed advice I got Vista Business because there was a possibility that I could put XP on it later if I hated Vista.
It took me months to transition from the desktop to the laptop. It was easier to use the slow machine than to learn the new one, know what I mean?

One of the things the desktop has is the little wunderground banner that tells me the conditions here in SP all the time. When I finally found myself spending more time on the laptop, not bothering even to turn on the desktop, I had to install the banner. But, I couldn't do it! It doesn't work with Vista - aaahhhhhh! I panicked. I mentally composed scathing emails to the wu developers. I considered loading XP on the laptop.
I took a breath.

Think about it - would our devs leave us hanging like that? No! Of course not! So, I went looking for the solution, which was easily found. I just had to install a sidebar gadget... uh... huh?
Okay, if you know what it is, you think I'm an idiot right about now. Come on, though - it's not exactly intuitive, is it?

The WU gadget is just plain awesome, with current conditions, forecast, radar(!), and webcam all at the click of the mouse.
It occurs to me that the devs may have notified us about this gadget in the blog but, since I wasn't using Vista then, I ignored it. Anyway, coolest thing ever :)

I love the sidebar gadgets and I found a site that has a gazillion of 'em. Apparently, anyone who knows how to do so can make a gadget. Nifty.

My favorite (besides wu, duh) is the radio that has a couple of dozen stations (from Europe) and allows me to add stations. I added an LA station that I can't usually pick up on the radio at the house (and I don't like the player on their website) and I'm in heaven.
I should note that, as cool as this radio gadget is, it does sometimes hang - always in the middle of a song I'm really into, natch. When it works well, though, it can't be beat.

This entire blog has three purposes:
1) To find out if others like the sidebar gadgets - what are your faves?
2) To quickly and easily replace my not-so-weathery weather blog, LOL (though it's a bummer to lose all the nice TDay greetings :))
3) To give me an excuse to post the following three videos that exemplify why I want to hear that LA radio station at home - they played them one after the other and they fit nicely together in this order, I thought; I hadn't heard the first or the third and the second is an all-time fave. Here ya go... (listen in order, now, to get the full effect, LOL)...







Have a great weekend :)

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Some mud, much rain, EQ

By: sp34n119w, 8:49 AM GMT on November 24, 2008

See what happens when one gloats? LOL
Total for the storm in Santa Paula (thus far, since we may get more as the low moves ever so slowly eastward) is a whopping 1.93".
Currently it is 59º, cloudy, with no wind, and very humid.

As for mud - I've got a link to an article I'll leave in the comments. Check there for earthquake news, too.

Tomorrow should be cool with some showers here and there. I expect I'll see a little sun in LA, though.

Happy Turkey Day!

11/25/08 3PM
Sure enough, the blob that was supposed to be slingshot at us by the swirly thing went far south of me - and most of the rest of SoCal. I hate to say "I told you so" but... oh, wait, that's not true. LOL
The blob got stretched and shredded and sent packing. The swirly thing is still out there, pulling up moisture, but is looking a little ragged. Although radar and sat images look really impressive, all the rain is north of Point Conception, thus far. The highest value I saw was 0.26in which isn't too bad at all, but, is north of Santa Maria. We're getting dissed, again. I mean, "missed" ;)
It also looks to me like the swirly thing has sped up its eastward movement a bit. That's good for the burn areas but not so much for those wanting rain. Hope is that, from Pt. Conception down to Orange County, there is enough rain to clean the air, roads, and plants of the last ashes - but not so much that there are mudslides and debris flow. I think that hope is likely to become real.

Just read the latest discussion for my area and seems they see the same thing, so, I'm probably wrong! LOL!
Well, dumb luck can't last forever.

My apologies to the blogger that I called a "complainer" when I first wrote this blog. It was meant to be funny and not critical - would like to see him back here while I'm doing weather, as he is more local to me than anyone else on the blogs and probably knows stuff! :)

11/24/08 12:49AM
It feels like we've had nearly a year's worth of weather in the last week and a half - with upcoming days filling in the rest.
A few days of late-September dry, hot, fire-inducing winds followed by a few days of mid-July sun and warmth with no marine layer and cool nights, and then, finally, a few days of more typical late November sunny and cool days with cold nights ('cool' and 'cold' being relative terms). Now, if the forecast is to be believed, we will have a storm of a type not normally seen until February!

Ah, Autumn...

A cold front moving in from the north and moisture being pulled up from the south - nearly a pineapple express situation. Forecast is for one-quarter to one inch for most of SoCal (though I haven't checked the SD forecast) and up to two inches in the mountains. High snow levels - above 7000ft.
I'll be checking the loops again in the morning but, honestly, I don't see what the models are seeing. Right now there's a weird little kink up there at 40º, too. Oh, well... what do I know? It will be fun to watch - though I do hope it causes no more problems for the folk in the burn areas.

You know, a better question than, "Is it going to rain?" is, "How'd I end up with a weather blog?!?!"
LOL

Updated: 4:24 AM GMT on November 27, 2008

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Fire, Earthquake, what next?

By: sp34n119w, 8:03 PM GMT on November 14, 2008

Basic update, 11/17/08
Info from the CalFire government site.

Triangle Complex, aka: Freeway Fire, aka: Corona/Yorba Linda
Location: Between Corona, Chino Hills, Yorba Linda, Brea & Anaheim
Acres Burned: 28,889 acres
Containment: 40% contained
Structures Threatened: Some structures remain threatened.
Structures Destroyed: STRUCTURES DAMAGED OR DESTROYED:
Anaheim – 31 residences destroyed, 44 damaged
Yorba Linda – 113 residences destroyed, 50 damaged
Corona – 8 residences destroyed, 9 damaged
Brea – 3 residences destroyed, 1 damaged

MAP of Triangle Complex in .pdf format

Sayre Fire, aka: Sylmar
CURRENT SIZE: 10,077 Acres (estimate).
CONTAINMENT: 40%.
ESTIMATED COST TO DATE: $3,500,000
CURRENT CONDITIONS: Wildfire. Success remains dependant on favorable weather.
CAUSE OF FIRE: Under Active Investigation.
STRUCTURES DAMAGED/DESTROYED: *Approximately* 615 structures of varying types (residential, commercial, outbuilding) were damaged or destroyed by the fire.
CIVILIAN INJURIES: Yes. 1/Serious.

MAPS of Sayre Fire with links from the LAFD blog.

Tea Fire, aka: Montecito
County: Santa Barbara County
Location: Montecito, Cold Springs Creek and Hot Springs Road.
Acres Burned: 1,940 acres
Containment: 95% contained - Full containment expected this evening at 6 p.m.
Structures Threatened: None at this time
Structures Destroyed: 210 residences have been destroyed, and 9 have been damaged.
Evacuations: Some evacuations remain. Portions of the fire area have been repopulated.
Cause: Under Investigation
Conditions: Favorable weather has allowed firefighters to make progress on portions of the fire.
Loss of power to the communities of Montecito, Santa Barbara City and Santa Barbara County while power lines are being repaired.
An early warning notification system has helped to evacuate 4500 residents and communicated a voluntary evacuation of an additional 4500 residents.
Cost to Date: $4.9 million

MAP of Tea Fire (really nice) in .pdf format.

For fire maps you can try GeoMAC - click on "Wildfire Mapping" to the left there. I had some trouble with it but it's better than it was last year.


////////
11/14/08
And they say we don't have seasons in SoCal...

For those who want or need to know, here are some links and maps of the fires and fireweather in Cali today.

Montecito - the Tea Fire
Story from the Ventura County Star

Firefighters are staging a massive effort to stop the Tea Fire that has burned more than 100 homes in the Montecito area and is now threatening parts of Santa Barbara.
.....

Map of the area affected:



Updated image:



According to KEYT News site, residents of SB are being asked to conserve water to help the firefighters.
Also, a fire has broken out in San Luis Obispo, near the airport and some evacs have been ordered.
The link to KEYT is their homepage and will cover SB, SLO, and Ventura, as necessary.

I hear there are youtubes of the Tea Fire available. I'll go look and post them.

Here in SP, at 2:10AM, it is 79º with 13% humidity, 29 mph sustained winds, and gusts to 35 mph.

EARTHQUAKE
mag 3.5
7 miles east of Santa Paula


Updated: 10:09 PM GMT on November 17, 2008

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Nature Provides

By: sp34n119w, 12:50 AM GMT on November 11, 2008

I needed a new blog topic and couldn't think of anything that was in the least bit interesting. Not that I mind a political blog, and will likely do more of that, just that I wanted something a little lighter, where friends would not be afraid to comment, haha.

Mother Nature has provided for me a new subject! As I type this there is a Kestrel in my garage, perched upon my laundry basket, just about a foot from the interior door. Luckily, it's the dirty laundry basket.

I was in the garage, waiting for a load of laundry to be done, when I saw a flutter of wings shoot past the partially open door and under my car. I looked. It was a bird. I looked closer. Hmmm, I think that's a Kestrel! He didn't seem too perturbed by my scrutiny so I went to get the camera. Mr. K didn't seem to feel well and I thought he came in for a rest. He fluttered about in the corner, perching first on the empty flower pot, then on the hot water stand. I got a couple of blurry pictures as I didn't want to frighten him with the flash and it was too dark to get good photos.

Now, I leave the garage door part way up on laundry days to allow fresh air in for the dryer. Also, even on non-laundry days, the door is sometimes up to allow the garage cats access to their food bowls... oh, yes. Cats.

A cat arrived and, being a cat, went after Mr. K, who tried to get away up on top of the dryer but couldn't quite make it. Yes, he was definitely in distress before the cat ever got hold of him, but, get hold of him the cat did. I chased the cat out and put the door down, then couldn't find the dang bird. I ran out the front door and, sure enough, the bird was on his back, cat atop, and struggling. I shooed away the cat, ran back inside to get a bucket to place over the bird and to put the garage door back up, by which time the bird had righted itself and been flipped a second time. I yelled at the cat and the bird, somehow, managed to get itself back into the garage! Down came the door and all was right with the world.

Well, almost. I still had an injured bird under my car. He was lying on his belly, sort of listing to one side, and I feared for his life, but, his head tracked as I moved around and that seemed a good sign.
I have a friend who volunteers with a bird rescue group in Ventura so I called her (thankfully, she was home – she's never home) and got the number of the good woman who runs the rescue group. Her idea was that I box up Mr. K and trek down to Ventura with the poor soul to deliver him into salvation. Nice thought... any other ideas? Yes, call John.

John is Santa Paula's animal control officer and gives that office a very good name. He is kind, caring, and gentle, and goes out of his way to help all critters great and small. He is also the reason I have two neutered and thoroughly feral cats to tend to every day. Almost exactly a year ago, John brought the traps for the cats and then picked them up and took them to the vet to get fixed before bringing them back to “the neighborhood where they are comfortable” and where, of course, he knew they would be fed and cared for. Yep, John's a saint, he is.
(John arrived as I finished typing that last sentence. He may be a saint but, punctual, he is not. Still the story must go on...)

I called John, who said he'd be here in 45 minutes so I figured I'd see him in about an hour and a half, and checked on Mr. K. He was still under the car but he was standing up! I got a few other things done and went to change the laundry, cracking the door just a bit in case Mr. K had moved to nearby. He had. There he was atop the aforementioned laundry basket, which I had placed on a chair by the door, putting the bird and I eye-to-eye with about a foot's distance between.

Here's where I admit to being just a teeny bit afraid of birds. I don't really like them in cages, either. I do love to hear them, to watch them fly, and I am in awe of their beauty and grace. I have a particular fondness for raptors as they go about their business. Just don't want one flying at my face, you know?

It occurs to me, at this point, that this would make a great blog entry. So, I figured I'd just do that while waiting for John...

By the time John arrived the bird had found its way to the space at the side of the dryer but, fortunately, not behind it. Perhaps it was warmer there since I'd been using it all day. It took some doing but Mr. K was safely extricated and placed in a towel-lined box for transport. John assures me that Pete, a volunteer at the raptor center who is also John's neighbor, is most qualified to care for Mr. K.

I am much relieved! Honestly, had it been one of the ubiquitous little house wrens, I probably would have let the cat have it. I couldn't do that with a Kestrel, though. I hope to hear how he does but probably will not so will just think good healthy birdy thoughts.

Oh, yes - you're probably wondering. Mr. K did, of course, poop on my clothes!

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For the lack of...

By: sp34n119w, 11:19 PM GMT on November 02, 2008

...a viable* candidate with the integrity, persistence, and moral courage to earn my vote, I will cast my vote for the man who has done more for the rights, health, wealth, and safety of American citizens than the Communal Party candidates can ever hope to do, and never would do, anyway.
They haven't the courage of their convictions, only the coins in their coffers. They haven't the vision to inspire action, only vile lies to initiate anger. They haven't the consistency of common purpose, only the conundrum of conspiracy.
I'm out of alliterations and bored with arguing with thoughtless and careless party-liners so, will simply list, from an outside source, a very brief outline of my candidate's life and accomplishments. No one else has done so much for us across such a broad spectrum of issues in my lifetime.
From Project Vote Smart

Ralph Nader

Office Seeking: President
Party: No Party Affiliation, Independent, Write-In, Natural Law Party, Alaskan Independence, Ecology Party of Florida, New Mexico Independent Party, Nominated by Petition, Nomination by other than Primary, Peace, Populist

Background Information
Gender: Male
Family: Single.
Birth Date: 02/27/1934
Birthplace: Winsted, CT
Home City: Winsted, CT
Religion: Christian
Education:
LLB, Harvard Law School, 1958
AB, East Asian Studies, Princeton University, 1955
Attended, Gilbert School, 1951.
Professional Experience:
Attorney, 1958-present
Lecturer, Government/History, University of Hartford, 1961-1963
United States Army, 1959
Author
Consumer Advocate
Department of Labor.
Political Experience:
Candidate, United States President, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004.

Organizations:
Founder, Center for Study of Responsive Law, 1969
Founder, Center for Auto Safety
Founder, Center for Women's Policy Studies
Founder, Citizen Works
Founder, Clean Water Action Project
Founder, Congress Watch
Founder, Connecticut Citizen's Action Group
Founder, Disability Rights Center
Founder, Multinational Monitor
Founder, Pension Rights Center
Founder, Project for Corporate Responsibility
Founder, Public Citizen
Founder, Public Interest Research Group.
Caucuses/Non-Legislative Committees:
Environmental Protection Agency
Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


At Project Vote Smart's political courage page, one can read the candidates' answers to questions on policy issues – if they bothered to answer them. Nader did. Obama and McCain did not. Those two wouldn't want to be tied down to any particular viewpoints, beliefs, or policy positions, now, would they? Never know where that next huge donation is going to come from and you don't want to offend anyone if you are a viable* candidate.

*where “viable” means they have been backed by enough corporate money to be seen and heard by enough voters to have a chance at winning, while effectively excluding those who speak for the citizenry.

As for why I chose PVS's page on Nader instead of some other bio listing, well... the list of Mr. Nader's accomplishments is just too long! 40 years of constant service to the people adds up! If you'd like to see more about him check out his website's bio page. It begins:
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, author, and has been named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Americans in the Twentieth Century.


Here's a link to cspan with a suggestion.

The debate between Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, and Ralph Nader is worth watching whether you are voting party line or have already voted or are not voting or are still, somehow, undecided.
The first 20 minutes, at least, will outline for anyone why someone they know and love will be voting third party instead of for your preferred candidate.

Comments welcome.
Check the comments for a link to Sunday's VP debate - it'll be there as soon as I go get it :)

Updated: 8:55 PM GMT on November 03, 2008

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RRRRAIAIAIAIAINNNNNNNNNN!!!!!

By: sp34n119w, 4:38 PM GMT on November 01, 2008

We interrupt the discussion of vital issues of the day for breaking news...

The skies have opened, the clouds have burst, the gutters are overflowing!
Yea! Rain!

I was awakened at 5:18 this morning by thunder and the rain was light for about a half an hour. I checked the radar, naturally, and it looked like there would be more. Went back to sleep and, sure enough, at 8:15 another really loud crack of thunder woke me, again. It rained, then it poured, until just 10 minutes ago.
Looks like there may be more on the way.
For a change, SP is right in the right spot! Yippee!





I left my dirty car out last night - how smart am I? heehee ;)

Updated: 4:44 PM GMT on November 01, 2008

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About sp34n119w

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. - Edmund Burke

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Personal Weather Stations

Chapman Farms
Santa Paula, CA
Elevation: 239 ft
Temperature: 76.7 °F
Dew Point: 64.9 °F
Humidity: 67%
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Updated: 9:05 AM PDT on September 16, 2014
APRSWXNET Santa Paula CA US
Santa Paula, CA
Elevation: 291 ft
Temperature: 80.0 °F
Dew Point: 61.0 °F
Humidity: 53%
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Updated: 8:07 AM PDT on September 16, 2014
RAWS ANACAPA ISLAND CA US
Port Hueneme, CA
Elevation: 276 ft
Temperature: 75.0 °F
Dew Point: 60.0 °F
Humidity: 60%
Wind: 23.0 mph from the NW
Wind Gust: 31.0 mph
Updated: 8:23 AM PDT on September 16, 2014

About Personal Weather Stations