Walla Walla Fireworks 2008

The fireworks shoot this year was once again in sunny Walla Walla, Washington.

We left Hillsboro a little after noon on Thursday, July 3 and got up to Walla Walla around 5:00p. We checked in to the Super 8, which was way better than the Travelodge from last year, and had dinner with the rest of the crew at the local Applebee’s.

Friday the fourth found us hauling gear off the truck and setting things up around 7:30a. We had another good crew this year, a total of ten of us. The setup went pretty quickly and we checked, double-checked, and re-checked everything as the day went on, just to be sure everything was hooked up safe and ready for action.

At 10:00p the show started. It was electrically fired and Greg was at the helm. I stood by in case any of the shells failed to go off. It’s a good thing I did, because we had a couple that the electronic firing didn’t catch, so I ran out there with a high-tech solution - a road flare (fusee) attached to a stick - and hand-lit the couple that didn’t go off. The show went off great and we had a good crowd cheering us on.

After the show, we loaded the equipment up on the truck and did a first run at cleanup, making sure nothing dangerous was left behind, and headed back to the hotel.

Saturday the fifth we checked out and were back at the field for final cleanup by 9:00a. Cleanup was a couple of hard hours raking and picking up shell casing fragments, then took on the four-hour drive home. (We actually went straight to Jenn’s sister’s birthday party without stopping at home, so it made for a bit of a long day.)

The weather was about 20 degrees cooler this year and it was way better that way. Thank goodness, too, because I don’t think I could have stood it much hotter.

I think next year we’re going to see if we can get a show a little closer to home. Walla Walla’s a good show, but it being a three-day-affair is a little much for us. It’d be nice to get something local, like the Oak Hills (Beaverton) show. We’ll see what happens.

I posted some pictures of the setup, but I didn’t get any photos during the show. Actually, I got video of the shoot, and I’m going to see if Greg can cobble it together with his video and produce something really nice. I’ll link to it when it’s up.

gaming, xbox comments edit

For the last, oh, two or three weeks, my Xbox 360 has been sluggish when signing me in to Xbox Live. I’d start the console, the logo screen would go by, the dashboard would come up, and I’d have to wait 20-30 seconds before my account would auto sign-in. The real crazy bit was that if I did anything - move to a different blade in the dashboard, manually try to sign in, or whatever - it would mess up the networking so that I’d have to shut the whole console down and reboot in order for it to connect. This weirdness wasn’t happening before - I was used to it signing me in within five or six seconds of the dashboard coming up.

I tried all sorts of things - static IP addressing, clearing my settings cache, resetting the network to factory defaults and re-entering everything in manually - and nothing worked. Looking at my network settings, nothing was fighting for the same address, and every other device in the house connected to the network just fine.

My last ditch effort last night: reboot the wireless router and the devices connected to it. Shut down all the stuff connected to the network (laptop, PS3, etc.), reboot the router, and turn everything back on. That fixed it. No more sluggish login. Whatever was gummed up in the works has been flushed out.

media, movies comments edit

Wall-EJenn and I went with some friends on Sunday to see Wall-E, the latest Pixar piece.

I enjoyed Toy Story and it holds a special place in my heart. I have enjoyed all of the other Pixar movies, too, to varying degrees.

Wall-E is my new favorite. There’s just something about cute robots that I can’t get over. The characters - most of them robots - were lovable and full of personality, the story was great… I was sucked in from the first minute. Something I thought was cool was that they did so much, particularly at the beginning, without a ton of dialogue. It was all in expressions and actions, and it was amazing.

While it’s obviously safe for kids to see, I don’t think they’ll really get it. I know that my niece was sort of bored by it. My sister-in-law fell asleep (she’s fired). Jenn, I, and the friends we went with loved it thoroughly. Definitely worth the full-price admission in my book.

GeekSpeak comments edit

I have a Lenovo/IBM ThinkPad T60 at work with a docking station. For the longest time, I’d get this error when trying to undock:

You cannot eject your computer because one of the devices in the docking station, “Printer Port (LPT1),” cannot be stopped because a program is still accessing it.

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. I don’t have any printers hooked up, I hadn’t printed anything, I couldn’t find anything that was using the port.

There’s a KB article on it, and I found forum posts about it, but no real solutions. The way I solved it:

In the BIOS at boot time, there is an option for disallowing access to the printer port from the docking station. I set that. (There is an option to disable the printer port entirely, but I didn’t need to do that - I just needed to stop the docking station from accessing it.) A quick save and reboot, and I’m ready to eject from the docking station at any time - no more error.

Note that I don’t have any printers locally attached to my machine, so disabling the printer port connection to the docking station didn’t hurt me. If you have a local printer attached to your docking station, this may not be the best solution for you.

UPDATE: I am on ThinkPad T60 BIOS version 2.21 and the option is under Config -> Docking Station. Set the “Legacy Devices on Mini Dock” setting to “Disabled” to disallow the docking station access to the parallel port.

media, movies, music comments edit

I’m not sure what to make of this, but it’s from Joss Whedon and stars Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion, so that’s really all I need to know. I’m in.