200,000 miles and no signs of slowing

My truck recently rolled over its 200,000th mile to little fanfare. I caught a picture of the moment and thought I’d use it to tout the impressive engineering of Toyota. I bought the truck with 26 miles on it in 2006 and, over the subsequent 200,000 miles, the only non-standard maintenance this vehicle has needed was the replacement of a blown CV boot. Everything else has been fluid changes, new tires, gas and the replacement of incidentals like headlights and windshields. The drivetrain on this truck is fantastic. Truly, my truck is easily the most cost-effective purchase I’ve ever made. Sure, it’s not going to pull a fully loaded camper, but it has handled a boat without issue, an ’88 Mustang trailered from El Paso and pretty much everything else I’ve ever needed it to pull. If you’re in the market for a truck, consider the Tacoma.


2014 In Review

We’re about a month into 2015 and it’s about time I do a little writing… particularly about what the hell I’ve been up to in 2014. You may have noticed that it has been pretty sparse around here lately. That is most certainly a by-product of the absolute ridiculous pace of 2014. My work as an instructor pilot down here commanded (and continues to command) the bulk of my time. Throw in a Master’s degree, working out, family, time with Jennifer, temporary duty assignments, personal projects, home maintenance and time with friends and I find myself about all tapped out when it comes to anything on this website and about one hundred other small projects that I simply don’t have time for. Browse and discover new music? No time. Read books? No fucking time. Practice a new language, learn the guitar, buy and use a telescope… all stuff that life simply provides no time for right now. It’s slowly getting better as high-emphasis items are slowing, but I’m also at that point in my career where I am entering middle management and the projects continue to mount. So we’ll see how that plays out… I know this year will be another busy one, though… more on that in a moment. This post will be a long one so try to corral your short attention span, focus for a minute and read through. (more…)

Updating BIOS………file not found

I recently rebuilt a server based on an MSI H61M-E23 motherboard and ran into a small issue. After downloading the latest BIOS from the MSI website, placing the file on a USB thumbdrive and executing the .EXE, I was instructed that the machine would be rebooting shortly and not to remove the USB drive. I clicked OK and allowed the machine to reboot. When it came back up I was shown:

Updating BIOS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .file not found

“What the FUCK?!” This is the second time I’ve used a manufacturer’s tool to update a motherboard’s BIOS only to have it fail. So I went digging through the Internet to find others that had the same problem and there were plenty… none of which solved the problem. Solutions ranged from resetting the CMOS to “hey, put this file on the USB drive and reboot”. I tried changing the file on the thumbdrive… didn’t work. I tried removing everything else from the thumbdrive and rebooting… no dice.

It dawned on me that the BIOS was likely unable to read the NTFS file system the thumbdrive was using. So I reformatted it as FAT32, slapped the new BIOS file onto the thumbdrive, rebooted and BOOM… file found. The machine did its work, rebooted and I was back to the operating system.

Pretty simple solution, but maybe this post will save you a few minutes of frustration. As per usual, all Internet advice should be taken at your own risk. Buena suerte.

MQ-1 and MQ-9 Live Fire Exercise

A number of nights ago I was at work until 3am and then 11pm a week later in order to participate in a live fire exercise. The base I am at rarely gets to shoot live weapons, but we were fortunate recently to get 30+ Hellfire missiles and range time to shoot them. Well, instructors such as myself did not shoot any and instead we gave them to students who released them under instructor supervision. This video is a compilation of video taken from six hours of footage taken by my aircraft from our position at the top of the altitude stack. Check it out.

Various for 5 Jan 2014

I bought a new router… an Asus RT-N66R. I’m pretty happy with it save for its inability to establish site-to-site VPNs. I’m still researching it, but I should be able to flash a third party firmware and get those features. Otherwise this thing is pretty awesome. It replaced my RV-08 and my venerated WRT54G running DD-WRT and has improved network stability immensely. If you’re in the market, I recommend it. You don’t need the new AC standard. Hell, until yesterday I was still running 802.11g without much issue.

I’m listening to a new Aesthetic Perfection single: the Skold remix of Big Bad Wolf. I first heard it on RSA‘s Best of 2013 episode. If you dig on EBM, synthpop, et cetera and you aren’t listening to this podcast, you must be living under a rock. Interesting note… this is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) podcast on the Internet… going strong since 1998! I’ve personally been listening since at least 2008. I say this every year, but I swear I’m going to donate some cash to the show this year. I’ve gotten at least $500-worth of entertainment from the show… Todd deserves at least a few ten spots if not a hundred spot. (more…)

Going to a minimal theme

I’m working on a custom minimalist WordPress theme to replace the one you are seeing now. The work is being done on a development machine I have here at the house and should be done relatively quickly. It’s going to be white with black text, higher contrast and easier readability, little to no graphics and only one post visible at a time. This will mandate a search function and decent archives which will come once the site has been kicked over to that theme.

Learning, Doing

Today I learned a bit about pulling and reinstalling transmissions, exhausts and clutches on a Fox-body Mustang. I learned about adjusting ignition timing, too. Also implemented a Netflix-like database on Oracle 11g. Triggers, procedures, functions, PL/SQL and correlated subqueries. And I made some chicken. And scored a 96.6% on a quiz.

Good day.

Cellphone Photo Dump

I don’t have much time to post here these days so I thought I’d just dump a series of photos from my phone to give people an idea. Check the captions for descriptions.

Brave New World

I recently completed Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. Good little book, difficult to get past the first five chapters as there are all sorts of made-up words and it’s all background information helping bring the reader into the world Huxley has imagined… no real plot to the story yet. Once that is out of the way though, main characters emerge and the plot moves quickly. It’s an easy read from there on out. I don’t want give you a review of the whole story. The Internet has that information in spades. I actually just want to share some of the author’s words from a letter he wrote to George Orwell regarding that gentleman’s novel 1984. Huxley saw the future as one where the populace is lulled into submission with overwhelming pleasure where Orwell imagined a draconian police state complete with Thought Police.

“The lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.”

There is much debate about who is most correct and that’s all well and good. I tend to think our fate lies somewhere in the middle and we can see glimmers of each philosophy today. Orwell saw an omniscient surveillance machine, resemblant of the NSA and its now famous PRISM program. Huxley saw a world of ecstasy-like drugs and ever-present entertainment. Both are proving to be correct.

Anyway. Good book. Give it some consideration if you find yourself looking for a thought-provoking read.

Warrior Dash Oklahoma

Last weekend Jennifer and I went to Oklahoma to participate in a Warrior Dash. My mom ran one two years ago and insisted that we join them this year. I have wanted to do a course like this for quite some time so it was a no-brainer. The whole thing is a bit over-hyped and really anyone can make it through the course, but whatever. We’ll call it a warm-up on my way to running a Tough Mudder. (My guess is that will turn out to be over-hyped as well, but we’ll see.) It was fun hitting the obstacles and getting muddy. Primary lesson learned: my running is shite. The course, a 5k, was front loaded with about two kilometers of pure cross-country running and it SUCKED. So there’s a focal point for my future fitness. Anyway… here are some pictures from that day.