Blanca Lake

Summer and I saw the nice weather and headed up along Highway 2 past Monroe.

Hmmm. What’s Index? We looked. Tiny town with a cool name.

We kept going up the dead end road past Index, saw a sign about a trailhead, pulled an old trail map book out of the trunk, found the trail description, and thought, “Emerald waters, moderate to difficult, 2700 foot gain” … sounds good.

I gear up. Summer throws her red bag with a loaf of bread, some fake meat, and two small bottles of orange juice on her back, and we take off.

Or, more accurately, Summer takes off with a Youth of America bounce. I stomp after like Godzilla in flippers. Sheesh. Is this kid gonna hit a wall? Answer. No. The trail winds back and forth up a hill. It’s a very nice trail. This picture is not representative, though there are several rootie, Hobbittown looking spots on the trail:

Roots on the Blanca Lake trail

Eventually, the trail passes a little lake called Virgin Lake. Then the trail pops up along a ridge from which you can see Glacier Peak, the Northwest’s least visible volcano. And the top of the ridge is speckled with old peat bogs making artificial looking camp sites.

I found Summer at one of ’em talking with a couple of guys who were camped out. She’d probably been there for about 4 hours, given our speed differences. We all talked for a bit, having fun. Then the bugs got to Summer (“Hey, thanks for coming along. They aren’t bothering me at all.” says her empathetic Dad.), so we trundled on down the trail to Lake Blanca.

If you take this trail, don’t get discouraged when you start down the steep trail to the unseen lake. Yes, you hear water about 10,000 feet below. Yes, it’s a little hard to figure out why you won’t be going to that water. Yes, the lake may seem like it must be about another 4 miles away. But, trust me, it’s not too far.

And, the waters are “emerald”. I suppose. Anyway, they are a striking green that does not come through in this picture:

Blanca Lake

The flashlight, as usual, got us out to the car.

Nice hike. Summer figures to come back. The trail is variable, has a lot to offer. We probably hit its best time of the year.

Windows Vista RC 1 Tryout

Since asuka didn’t migrate to the new box easily, that box is sitting on the floor now doing nothing except keep a backup for asuka’s disks as of a couple weeks ago.

Hey, why not download the RC1 version of Vista?

Did – after much trouble with the official download mechanism, simply downloaded a bit-torrent version. Microsoft tells the MD5 and SHA1 of the ISO, so the bit-torrent version can be verified without any trouble. Thank you, DCRC.

Was warned off trying the 64-bit version by various web postings.


Took a while, unattended, after a couple of simple, basic settings (e.g. Language).

First log on took a long while, too. They try to keep you interested with fading in/out promo notes.

I installed Vista x86, 32-bit in the little 9 gig Linix swap partition. There was some fussing about it not being the right sort of partition, but that was very easy to fix.

The install leaves a very clean directory structure. I like that the users are put under “\users”. Too bad that “\Program Files”, with its embedded space, is pretty much unchangable to “\programs”.

Disk properties says that there remained less than 2 gig, so this DVD image expands out from a compressed image for sure.

Windows networking:

I could map my XP box’s shared drive. I could map the Linux servers’ Samba shares. I could not map any Win98 box’s shared drives.


Transparent windows are confusing, messy, and really don’t bring much to the table, in my view.

There were a couple of gratuitous icons, but they are easily tossed and unobtrusive. Nice.

The gadget toolbar confused me for a bit ’cause I did not even notice its existence until I tried to move the trashcan over the unpopulated part of the gadget toolbar – which was indistinguishable from the desktop background. And, what possible value is there in putting gadgets inside some specialty area? What is wrong with them going anywhere you like on the desktop? Heck, Microsoft seemed to intend to encourage people to create smart icons (“gadgets” seems to be the word the world is converging on for these mini-window programs) quite a few years ago. The tragedy of them is that, as they appear simple, it should be simple to create ’em. A few lines of code in some scripting language (e.g. Python, C#, Java) should get you an “Hello World” gadget. But, I digress.

The windows generally have a cluttered look.

The new minimize-size-close buttons on the upper right are nice. Their mouse-hover glow is a great improvement. And these buttons’ larger size is nice. And the big red close button is superior to the old windows style. Keep in mind that I have always used Windows Classic mode. For all I know XP may already has “fixed” these buttons. Anyway, they are almost, but not quite, as nice as OS/2 was a decade ago. Would that you could put the X in the upper left, away from the sizing buttons.

Vista does a bit of selling something called Windows Live. Like “Dot Net”, Windows Live is something … I’m sure. Yes. Quite sure. And, without question, it must have something to do with Windows. Or something. The red X worked fine in Windows Live. Or something.

The media player tries to sell something called, as Dave Barry would say, I’m not making this up, “Urge.” That’s right. They are trying to sell you a … what? … urinal?

So, that’s the 10 minute look. I may never see Vista again until some machine I get for Windows comes with it.

Overall impression:

Incremental update. Not irritating.

Looks like they are doing as good a job as they can to default-to-secure-mode. Kudos!

They are moving toward trying to make the whole PC experience one that is more like buying a car rather than buying a fixer-upper boat. That’s the proper thing for them to do, of course, given that if you want a fixer-upper boat, your best bet nowadays is Linux. And they are doing a pretty good job of it, it seems.

As the only “car” manufacturer, they are on the uncompetitive slow-road. Since their disasterous decision not to split the company in to pieces, it’s a safe bet that they will plod on relatively successfully, but gradually downhill for many years to come. That “many years” could be shorter than anyone would imagine if certain machines ever take off:

  • “Audrey” type machines (cheap, throw-away, distributed-around-the-home appliances with built-in web browsing)
  • smart-phones that can drive any neighboring screen and keyboard/mouse.

But, that’s another subject.

Birth Memories

Read an article, Why can’t I remember my own birth?, at The Register.

So, it’s time to put this rather fun thing down somewhere.

From a very young age I occasionally had a particular nightmare. Sometimes I had a form of it while awake – often when I was feverish with some childhood ill. I called it a “daymare”.

At around 10 or 11 I “got control” of it. I was awake (skipping school and not feeling well and laying in bed) when I had some of the daymare. That day, perhaps because I was old enough or experienced enough with the thing, I found that I could turn it on and off and even play a bit with its intensity. That was quite an experience for me, as it had been very scary for as many years as I could remember (and I had a very good memory of being young – back to 2, at least).

What’s that all got to do with birth memories?

Here is how I described the main part of the daymare at the time: “I’m going through square rollers.”

So, what are “square rollers”?

Well, first, by the age of 10 (and younger), I knew that these nightmare rollers were physically impossible. But “square rollers” was the best I could do for a word. “Square rollers” are like kitchen dough rollers, but not like them.

First, imagine you are lying on a Roller ConveyorRoller Conveyor. Now, imagine that the rollers are powered. They are moving you along. Head first. Not fast. Now, imagine that you are not simply lying on them, they are above and below you and on your sides. Rolling you along. You have no sense of gravity.

Got that?

Now, imagine that the round rollers don’t seem to individually move continuously down your body. Instead, they press almost like the corner of a square in to you, pushing you along. As you move relative to them, the corners become the flat sides of the square. That is, you are not pressed by an edge, but instead by a flat surface. Same pressure. Just not as sharp. Then, lower on your body, you feel the corner again. But the flat parts overlap with the corners in some strange way. And the corners are not sharp, like they must be. That part is hard to put in to words. They are sharp, but in a different way than a sharp corner of a square. Duller, but not duller. It’s sort of like when you misinterpret something out of the corner of your eye. That is, if you don’t pay too close attention to a particular corner, it feels sharp. But, if you really take notice of that corner, it just isn’t quite as sharp feeling.

Got that?

Well, again, at 10 and younger, the only rollers I knew about were kitchen dough rollers. They were the right relative size, but they had some problems:

1) They did not conform to the shape of a body. The nightmare rollers did. For example, I could feel the same pressure from the “corner” of a square roller all across my body, high points and low, and around on the sides.

2) A kitchen roller is too round.

3) If they were square, they would not be able to turn. They were close enough that they would knock against each other. They would need to mesh like gears. But, I knew that such gears would counter-rotate in pairs. These rollers did not.

The rollers were not painful. But there’s no question they were doing some serious squeezing.

By the way, the rollers covered the whole body, head to toe. I could not help wondering how I could breath. But I had no sense of lack of breath.

The daymare had an extra component not in the nightmare: If I had my eyes open, the corner of the room would recede, like I was moving closer to the floor or shrinking or the room was expanding. That was the part I could adjust on that day at year 10 or so. I could move the corner of the room toward me and away. And, I could put the rollers on and take them off, so to speak.

From that day, the nightmares were no longer scary. I had them, but they just didn’t have the power they had had. In fact, they were kind of fun. For several years I’d play with them when I was not feeling well, or when I just felt like it. I could pretty easily do the room-corner thing while feeling the square rollers through my 20’s. After that time, I had kids and could not be sick any more. Now, all of this is a memory of a memory to me.

So, back to the subject of birth memories.

Sometime in my early 20’s I realized that the whole thing was a birth memory. Muscles can feel like the square rollers. And, it’s hard to imagine that one-way trip down the vagina as feeling anything but exactly what the nightmare felt like.

I’d need to search through a lot of old private writings to find out exactly when that realization came to me. I think it was a couple years before (and this is related to some of the text of the Register article), at age 24, I realized that people exist who think in words.

But that’s another story.