Vacation – Day 2


Fireplace at the Lake
Originally uploaded by Big Dadoo.

Today was out first full day of vacation at our family cottage on Lake of the Woods. Day 1 was spent packing up and then spending a wonderful afternoon with friends who are moving back to Toronto. We wish that things had turned out differently and that we would have spend much more time together here in Winnipeg, but I have a feeling our friendship will survive the distance and we’ll still connect from time to time.

As you may have guessed from the photo, it wasn’t exactly a ripping hot day. The sky is overcast and the morning is spent with the usual cup of coffee and a great book which I’ve almost finished. After reading a couple of chapters, Shirley is up and we have breakfast. The tree that blew over last week is calling me, so I sharpen the chainsaw and get to work. The clearing that the loss of this tree made is just begging to be filled so we take a walk down the road in search of a replacement.

I know this time of year is not the greatest for transplanting small trees, but in the ditch along our road there are many spruce trees. Their life and height is severely limited because at least twice a year the road crew comes along with a brushing machine that clearcuts an 8′ swath alongside the road. I figure the small trees will stand a better change being uprooted and replanted along side our driveway as opposed to having their heads cut of year after year.

It starts to rain mid-afternoon which means a book and a nap are in order. It’s amazing how doing nothing on a rainy day can make you so tired. Perhaps it’s the need to catch up on our sleep that is taking over. After a short nap and while Shirley is still catching some Z’s, I get the computer out and post a few photos and even check the work email (what am I doing?). The connection at the lake is dial-up and I’m wishing that I’d arranged for the high(er) speed wireless hookup that is available in our area now. It’s hard to go back to this slow of a connection. It’s probably for the best as the lake should be all about un-plugging not staying connected, but we’ll see.

Sunset in Sunset Country


Sunset
Originally uploaded by Big Dadoo.

Last weekend was the first nice weekend at the lake this summer. We spent the day on the dock soaking up the sun and enjoying the ripping south wind that was bringing in the heat. After dinner, the wind died down so we headed out on a little cruise in the boat to watch the sun go down. A great end to a great day.

Backup

Well, literally I’m back up and running with a new disk and most of my software and data recovered. There are still several key files that I’m trying to recover via software, but that’s not going too well and as time passes, hope dims. Thanks to having a second disk on hand which I could sacrifice I was actually functional last weekend. The real replacement didn’t arrive until Monday afternoon, and I’ve spent may hours locating, downloading, re-configuring and remembering passwords etc. Yeah, one of the files I lost was an encrypted database that had all my userids and passwords for almost everything on my computer, web sites etc.

On one of my very first job interviews over 30+ years ago the interviewer asked “What’s the most important thing in IT?”. Well, I made up some answer that I thought was pretty good, but it didn’t line up with his. His answer was simple, “Backup”. I’m beginning to think he was right.

Disk read error has occurred

This is what greets me on the screen of my IBM T40 Thinkpad this morning at 8am. Initially, I’m not to worried, but after a couple of re-boot attempts, it begins to sink in – I’ve lost my disk.

This is the kind of thing that happens to other people, not me. The T40 has been rock solid for over 3 years, and now this. The very interesting thing was I’d been paying more attention to backing up my hard drive in the last week or so. I’d noticed a new “Rescue & Recovery” software utility on the IBM internal site and being a sucker for new software, I decided to upgrade to this tool. While installing this software, the previous version gets uninstalled and the hidden recovery partition also gets removed. The good side is that I now have 15gb more space, the soon to be bad news is I don’t have a recovery image. After the new software is installed I give it a try and create a bootable recovery CD (good news), but the backup of my 50+gb of data won’t fit anywhere so I don’t take a backup (bad news). Also, the interface to the backup is pathetic and makes it very difficult to do a selective backup.

But, I’m still thinking that a backup is important so on Wednesday of this week I run the Tivoli Storage Manager tool that is standard on the IBM image and backup lots of stuff to who knows where out on the network (good news), and hopefully, the restore of the data will also turn out to be good news.

So, here we go 1-800-IBM-HELP to the rescue! I call and select the hardware option and get a very friendly and helpful young lady who informs me that there is just one disk like the one I need and it’s in London, Ontario. (Hey, I was just there last week on business) and that hopefully it will be shipped to Winnipeg and arrive by Monday, or Tuesday. I’d hoped for local availability and to get some of this out of the way today, but what can you do? The disk will be totally blank and I’m requested to call back and request software support to get the new disk imaged with all the standard IBM stuff when it arrives. Well, several more phone calls later I’ve logged a software call and the local deskside support person will call me back.

Up to this point I’ve been working from home, so I head into the office because I know deskside support doesn’t make house calls. Once in the office I learn that Ray now only works on-site half time and won’t be in until after lunch. I’m so dependent on being online and having that Thinkpad work all the time and everywhere, and now there is not much to do except wait. While I’m waiting I take the opportunity to clean my desk and do some long overdue filing.

Ray calls! Yahoo, we can get this process under way. I’ve decided to sacrifice a second hard drive (which is not backed up at all, but generally the stuff is recreatable, probably after several days of downloading and messing around) that I have to the re-imaging process so that I can begin to get on with my life. Ray’s not too hopeful about recovering anything from the damaged drive and says he’ll have the reimage done by the end of the day.

Back to my desk and I finish the clean up. I’ve started making a list of what I’ll have to install and also a list of things I should backup more regularly and stuff I should print out once in a while. All my contacts are in Lotus Notes & Outlook. That network backup better be good.

More later… it’s 2:30 and there is a lot of work ahead.

Family at the Wall


Family at the Wall
Originally uploaded by Big Dadoo.

When I was younger, perhaps six or seven, my family lived in Toronto. and, like this family, my parents took my sister and I to Niagra Falls. One of my most vivid memories of this trip was the hight of the stone wall shown in this picture. I remember it being so very high and that my dad, had to lift me up to look over the edge and down into the gorge, Just like the young lad in this photo. I was both thrilled and scared at how far down it was from the edge of that wall to the bottom of the gorge.

Well, many years later, on a business trip to Toronto, I again went to Niagra Falls and was stunned at how low this wall actually is. It’s only about two feet high!

It’s all a mater of perspective, but it’s still a long way down.

Geocaching in London

London, Ontario that is. I recently got my Garmin GPSMAP 60C back from being repaired and I didn’t realize how much I missed the little toy. So lately, it’s been getting a lot of use geocaching in Winnipeg and now in London.

I’m out here on a little business trip and it was a nice evening and I had a Travel Bug to drop off, so I was off in search of GCMF2MT – Greatest Treasure of All Time which was the closest cache to my hotel. This morning before I left Winnipeg I downloaded map detail for the London to Toronto corridor, but for some reason the GPS doesn’t have any map info for the city, just major highways. However, with the waypoint for the cache loaded, I just started walking cross country to try and locate the cache. For this one, it worked out well an I was able to find the cache without too much trouble. The next one would be a little different.

The next closest cache was GCNV25T – River Stroll Series – Foxway. The description put it on a walkway along side a river, just off the path. After walking several blocks, I come across a river, the Thames no less, and proceed down the river bank on the side closest to me as I approached the river. The GPS is indicating about 750m down the river. I go down a street for half a block and then there is an access path to the river bank where I find a nice mowed path right on the edge of the river. This must be the trail. As I get closer to the destination the heading starts to swing to the south and point across the river. You guessed it, I’m on the wrong side of the river! There is no bridge close by, so it’s back the way I came and up the other side. This time the path is a nicely marked, asphalted trail and after a 1.5km “opps” I’m able to find the cache. Well, that’s enough for one night and I take the trail back all the way downtown and back to the hotel.

One of the great things about geocaching is that it takes you places you might not normally go. While this is only my second time in London, I’ve seen a lot of the area that I might not noramlly have seen. Who knew that London has a “forks” area similar to Winnipeg’s “forks“.

Tempus Fugit

(tem’pus fyOO’jit), [Latin]: Time Flies

I re-titled my blog today based on reading an article in Photolife magazine which was given to Scott as a birthday present. It seems much better that “Random Thoughts” and especially applicable at this time in my life where time really does seem to fly by. Seasons come and go at an ever increasing speed. I’ve heard it said that people of my age feel this way because there is a smaller and smaller percentage of life to live ahead of me. I can still remember growing up and spending summers at the lake, where summers seemed endless at least until that last week before school started. Now summers fly by in what seems like a few short weekends.

Speaking of time flying, Shirley and I had the privilege of celebrating a birthday with our good friend Chris last night. We had coffee and a great chocolate cake that Shirley made and just enjoyed each others company. Right now both of our families are preparing for summer weddings. Us with Eric & Dez and Chris and Elaine with their daughter Jennifer. With children leaving home it seems to even more emphasis the passage of time and the move to a different phase in our lives. Some of these changes are exciting and children leaving home is a natural process but I know I’ll miss the daily contact, the playful jabs, and the good natured banter. I hope there will still be bike riding episodes to be enjoyed.

From the deck.


From the deck.
Originally uploaded by Big Dadoo.

The cottage is such a wonderful place. The view from the deck is always refreshing and new no matter how many times I sit and look out over the water. Even a rainy May long weekend has it’s sunny moments. This weekend there were a lot of bugs, a huge number of bug in the bush and around the water front. We were out in the boat one afternoon and going by another island where it appeared there were columns of smoke rising up from one end. Upon closer inspection, it was millions of these bugs in a swarming formation. But, no mater what the conditions, or what our personal circumstances are we can always make the choice to enjoy our surroundings and to enjoy life. Being happy is a decission that I can make every day, and I choose to live a great life, full of joy and happiness. Life to the max!

Dark Waters


Dark Waters
Originally uploaded by Big Dadoo.

Opened the cottage on the May 15-16 weekend and while the weather was not the greatest, it was wonderful to be back at the cottage. It’s always so peaceful and relaxing. There is always time to just sit and thing, to refresh the soul, to get back in touch with Who and what is important.

Arrived Friday night and after unloading put on the fireplace and Shirley prepared a nice snack. Turned in fairly early to get an early start on firing up the water system. Up on Saturday but not sure exactly when an I begin the familiar ritual of reassembling the water system which was carefully shut down last winter. First all the in-cottage connections, then under cottage connections and then the water line from the pump to the house. It’s amazing how many little quirks, work arounds etc. develop in the system over the years.

All is going well, the line is in, the pump is primed and pressure is building in the system. OK, here we go, opening the valve to the line up to the cottage. Hey, what’s this spray of water all over the place! After closing the valve I realize that that little slow drip I noticed last year really did mean something. This little part in the system has seen a better day. Inspite of having a huge inventory of plumbing parts, I don’t have this one, so it’s off to Kenora. Once in the car I notice it’s only 8:15am and I must have been working for over an hour. On the way back from Kenora I treat my self at Timmy’s to a coffee (no donut, I’m on the program 🙁 ).

Once the pump is running it’s time to open the valve that lets the water into the cottage. This is where thing can get exciting. Everything seems OK for a few minutes, but then there is that sound of running water and all the taps are closed and things should be quiet. Yikes, it’s the “pipe patch” in the lower bathroom ceiling, it’s spring a leak. Run out side and shut the valve, fix the pipe, clean up the water all over the floor and try again. Success! The rest of the day is spent doing odd jobs and getting things back in place, plus a nap. Can’t work too hard. Another great day at the lake.

(tem’pus fyOO’jit), [Latin]: Time Flies