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Gatlinburg and The World on Fire

Posted on November 30th, 2016

Dave!I first visited Gatlinburg around my birthday in March of 2000. There was a Hard Rock there I hadn't visited yet, and I had some time to drive through the region after a work trip took me to Memphis. So far as places go, The Great Smokey Mountains is a beautiful part of the country. Gatlinburg itself is fairly touristy, but a perfectly charming and lovely town.

And now it's engulfed in flames...

Which is heartbreaking in so many ways... especially when you see families losing everything in the devastation. Fires like this are commonplace where I live, and we've had major fires here the past two years (The Carlton Complex Fire of 2014 and The Okanogan Complex Fire of 2015). I've been through a fire myself, and have come close more than once (the most recent close call being in 2004).

It's hard to know who to trust when it comes to all the charitable organizations that have popped up around the Smokey Mountains fires, but Dolly Parton (who was born in the area and has a theme park there) has stepped up to help...

If you can't trust Dolly Parton, who's giving a huge chunk of her own money to help, who can you trust? If you'd like to help Dolly help others, here's a link to donate to her My People Fund.

Stay safe, everybody.

   

Bullet Sunday 447

Posted on August 23rd, 2015

Dave!Don't touch that back button... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Fighter. Before we get started... a huge thank you to the firefighters battling the very serious wildfires that have been plaguing us here in Central Washington State. The most serious being the Okanogan Complex fire, which is now the largest ever in state history (maps courtesy of the NIFC)...

Okanogan Complex Fire Map

Most of the smoke plaguing the valley where I live is from the Chelan fire, which is threatening a lot of people...

Chelan Fire Map

Three firefighters have already lost their lives. Hopefully these horrific fires will be contained before more lives are lost.

   
• Catastrophe! If you have Amazon Prime and don't mind a little adult-oriented humor, Catastrophe had me laughing all six episodes. When an American working in London accidentally gets an Irish woman pregnant, both their lives are turned up-side down...

Catastrophe Still

The show's page is right here on Amazon.

   
• Naptime! Could the solution really be this easy?

Damn. Banned in Washington State!

   
• Noiseless? I've been a huge fan of the Imagenomic app called "Noiseware" which does a pretty darn good job of removing noise from photos. Now there's a new game in town... Macphun's "Noiseless"...

It seems to get me great results with little hassle. I don't know that it can completely replace Noiseware, but I'm sure glad to have it in my Photoshop toolbox. Here's an old photo of me, BEFORE and AFTER at 200%...

Noiseless Demo

Noiseless Demo

Yeah, it looks a little soft... but at 100% it's actually useable. Here's another...

Noiseless Demo

Noiseless Demo

Night shots don't fare quite as well as photos that have enough light... you get some clumping in solid areas... but still, pretty nice work for a one-click fix.

HELPFUL HINT: If you want to save 20% on Noiseless Pro, just put the app in your cart then abandon it. Eventually you'll get an email with a 20% off code. I got one... AFTER PURCHASING THE PROGRAM... which is kind of shitty, but my loss is your gain.

   
• In-App. Looks like I'm not the only one pissed off by all these apps having stupid-ass "in-app purchases"... Apple has been running ads featuring games with NO in-app purchase...

NO IN-APP PURCHASES!

NO IN-APP PURCHASES!

I wish there was a way to turn off apps with in-app purchase so they don't even appear in the iTunes Store. I never download them.

   
• Freedom. If I ever have the opportunity to kick the ever-loving shit out of Donald Trump, please look at it NOT as a heinous act of violence, but as me making America great again.

   
And... it's too hot for more bullets. BS out!

   

Flames

Posted on July 18th, 2014

Dave!The wildfire situation here is quite dire. Again.

Around a hundred people lost their homes in the Pateros region of Washington State. Highways are closing down all over the place. Local businesses are losing loads of tourism dollars during their busiest time of year.

And with more lightning strikes in the forecast, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

The flames aren't landing on my doorstep... yet... but the air is so full of smoke and ash that you don't want to leave the house without a mask on. Which seems like such a petty thing to complain about when houses are falling like dominoes... but it's miserable. There's only so long you can live in smoke before it drives you a little crazy.

Wildfire Smoke

I don't know how the firefighters manage it day after day.

But bless them for doing so.

Here's hoping some relief comes soon.

   

Ashes

Posted on July 16th, 2014

Dave!When you step outside into the 106° F (41° C) blast furnace that is my home, the heat is the least of your worries. The air is filled with smoke and ash from the wildfires in the area, which makes breathing a bit of a chore.

The skies sure are pretty though.

Beneath the smoke that's rolling across the horizon, there's a golden glow that kisses the landscape until the sun goes down...

Wildfires

Wildfires

Wildfires

Wildfires

Wildfires

Too hot to sleep.

Too smokey to sleep.

Too sweaty to sleep.

Too tired to sleep.

I could really use some sleep.

   

Combustible

Posted on July 11th, 2014

Dave!And so... it's fire season again.

Some places have hurricanes. Others have floods.. tornados... earthquakes... name a disaster. Everybody has something. We have wildfires. They got scary close to where I live back in 2004. This time it's a slightly less worrisome 15 miles away near Entiat.

Local photographer Frank Cone has some amazing shots in his Flickr Photostream of the flames...

Frank Cone Fire Photo
Entiat Wildfire Image by Frank Cone ©2014

Frank Cone Fire Photo
Entiat Wildfire Image by Frank Cone ©2014

I feel terrible for all the animals that will die... and those who survive only to be homeless and hungry.

Thanks to the firefighters who, as always, put their lives and safety on the line doing a dangerous job to protect people and property in harm's way.

   

FIRE!

Posted on September 13th, 2012

Dave!And so the smoke was even worse today.

I woke up with a raw throat, swollen eyes, and a stomachache so bad that I had to crawl... crawl... out of bed. After force-feeding myself a handful of antihistamines and a box of antacids, I crawled back into bed where I stayed for another four hours.

Needless to say, this is not the best place to be for somebody like me right now...

Smokey City

Smokey City

Smokey City

And so I peaced-out of the valley and fled to the coast where I can actually breathe.

Hopefully sometime soon the wildfires will get under control so I can go home again.

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Flat

Posted on September 12th, 2012

Dave!I started the day with a flat tire. That would be bad enough, but we're on fire again.

I thought my hometown would make it through the summer without a massive wildfire outbreak in the area but, alas, it was not to be. The flames they are a ragin' in the canyons throughout the valley. Fortunately, things aren't nearly as bad as they were back in 2004, but the skies are filled with a smokey haze and the smell permeates everything...

Smokey City

This is bad news for me, because strong smells like smoke and incense make me sick. I get bad cramping that makes me feel like I have to poop 24 hours a day, on top of having a sore throat and headache. Sleeping is almost impossible. Working is a struggle. Eating makes me sicker. If things get much worse, I'm going to have to flee to the coast just to be able to function.

It's always something. Some cities get earthquakes. Some cities get hurricanes. Some cities get flooding. We get wildfires.

C'est la vie.

And in Apple news, this happened...

New iPhone 5!

As a Certified Apple Whore, of course I want a new iPhone 5. I love everything about it.

Even though its improvements are not quite as drastic from the 4S than I had expected.

My main gripe with iPhone is that it just isn't as smart as it should be for a smartPHONE. With iOS 6, we're getting a new feature called "Do Not Disturb" which will help with some of my complaints...

Do Not Disturb

My phone will be on "Do Not Disturb" 24 hours a day. Because 99 times out of 100, the calls I get are ones I don't give a shit about. Today while I was on my way to get my tire fixed, I got a robocall from a fucking furniture company wanting to give me a free wine rack for attending some kind of stupid event. After screaming FUCK YOU! at the recording, I was so enraged that I very nearly threw my iPhone out the window. "Do Not Disturb" will make this kind of bullshit a thing of the past.

But there's four more things that need to happen after that...

  • I want auto-redial. If I urgently need to get through to somebody, I have to be able to tell my iPhone to keep dialing until it gets through, then alert me to pick up.
  • I want number blocking. If some stupid asshole calls or texts me that I don't want calling or texting me, I should be able to tell my iPhone to ignore anything from that number in the future.
  • I want selective forwarding. I should be able to decide which callers get forwarded. I was hoping that "Do Not Disturb" would be tied to call forwarding, but can't find anything to confirm this, which is a shame.
  • I want call transfer. Granted, this may have to be coordinated with mobile phone companies, but the ability to transfer a call to another number is a no-brainer. I long to be able to say "I'm sorry, I don't have that information, hold on a minute and I'll transfer you to a colleague who has it." Instead you have to waste your time with some kind of call merge, which is more trouble than it's worth.

These are basic features that have been around forever, and are things that anything claiming to be a "smartphone" should be able to handle. Except the iPhone can't. But, hey... the new model is 18% thinner! Or whatever.

Maybe one day, when Apple has given us an iPhone that has artificial intelligence, a 3-D holographic projector, and fits on your fingernail, they'll finally get around to the basics.

Until then, I'll be sitting here watching the world burn.

   

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