Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Skating with the Goodyear Blimp at the Pompano Airpark

A couple miles north of me, a couple miles in from the ocean in Pompano Beach, FL is the Pompano Airpark.

When they carved up the flat swampy ground and drained the soon to be populated area of South Florida, there was this large plot of land that was once out where nobody lived. 

People eventually back-filled their lives into the area, there are homes surrounding the park in the large sprawl that is what is the metropolitan area.

Goodyear got there first and bought that plot before we all moved in.  They put in an airport, landing strip and the hangar for the Goodyear Blimp.  There are two that I know of, the other being in California.  San Diego I believe but I could be wrong.

It's more than a square mile of land serving light aircraft and the worlds largest flying billboard, the Goodyear Blimp.

When I was growing up in South Jersey, we only ever saw it once or twice so it was a curiosity.

Moving here, I have put that plot of land to my own uses, skating on the "black ice" trail that encircles the Hangar and the civil airport.

It is 4.6 miles around, if you are needing a place to skate here that you won't get hunted down by the ferocious drivers.

If Boston has the reputation where driving is a contact sport, they need to come down here and see how hunting down others is really done. 

That is why I went back to the Airpark.  I had some moron from Townhouse Isles in Wilton Manors pass me on NE 7th Avenue more than once in an all fired rush to get out to whatever their lives had in store for them, and as a result nearly take my own life with them.

Trust me, don't skate or bike on the roads in South Florida, it's dangerous.  This coming from someone who has ridden a motorcycle in Manhattan, drives a Jeep Wrangler, and skates a lot.

But, the Airpark and its trail is safer.  Even if it is a bit short at 4.6 miles, and totally flat, you can get miles in.

I needed to get back skating because, while it is not fashionable, inline skating is probably the
best sport for me that I can come up with.  You might have a different one, go and enjoy, but after skating 21,000 miles since 1992, this is mine.

I did notice that when I started that workout, the blimp was practicing maneuvers, and that can be entertaining.  Once sitting on a bench near the end of the landing strip, I watched that giant cigar coming in for a landing at what looked close to a 45 degree angle.  In the wind.

Snapping a picture, I started skating around the trail.   The hangar sits at the midway point, 2 miles in, and there's a shaded portion at mile marker 1.  When I came out of the shaded portion, I noticed the blimp hanging overhead coming into the approach for landing, along with a small civil fixed aircraft.  At that same time, there was a bird heading into the view.  Most likely flushed out by the fans that push that blimp around, no doubt.

This was not going to be a fast workout.  I had for all intents and purposes, stopped skating a few years ago, rolled to a stop.  It was much more fun to skate with the team, and there just weren't any people around.

Life moved on and, Life is better on 8 or 10 wheels.  Someone else in the neighborhood knows that too because slowly more people started dusting off their skates and are skating around town.

By the time I got to where I wanted to turn around, after all this was a "Get Reacquainted" workout, I got to the back of the hangar.  I'm right around 2 to 2.5 miles anyway, and I wanted to see what was going on.

Well really, I was trying to skate at my old competition speeds and my fitness levels weren't up to cruising at 16 mph (4 minute mile) so I slowed to stop at the back of the Hangar.


Sitting there on the ground, visible through the fence and the back door of the hangar was the blimp being stowed after a landing.

Cool!  Firing off a couple more pictures, I left with a grin.

I needed that pause.  While I did finish the lap plus a half mile, this workout told me I slacked too much, too long.

So Instead of doing my usual training workouts of 33 miles at a shot, yes, three times a week, I am doing a 5 mile loop, and starting over.

After all, you can't skate 100 miles in a week if you don't skate 5 first.  I'm back at a steady pace, skating the airpark and wearing out my wheels.

We all need a sport, this is mine.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

There's no better time to add insult to injury than when you're signing a cast

Something tells me that this guy is a stay at home dad for some other reasons, but hey, I'm not judging!


I'm a stay at home dad and a writer

.. and every day at 3:15 my grade school daughter comes home and tells me what she did that day. Followed by my wife, complaining about inter-office drama and her "workload". And not to sound indifferent or an asshole, but I usually feign empathy or excitement.

But this week I found it impossible. I was lashing out with abrasive reactions like, "Oooh, Tommy held your hand and you got a 80 on your math test? .. whoopty doo" (mockingly)

I felt unwell and told my therapist everything that occurred over the phone and was expecting to hear "blah blah resentment, blah blah lack of power," but he replied, "You are constipated."

I quickly went back to apologize to my wife and tell her what my therapist said.

"Honey, I'm so sorry I reacted like that, my therapist said I'm constipated," I started.

    * sigh * She replied, "Every writer gets a block here and there.. but you've always been full of crap."

Saturday, December 8, 2018

I heard that Apple is making a car. I wonder if it has Windows.

Personally, about that title... I hope not, the car would spy on you and crash, often.  Then again, I haven't used Mac or Windows in over 6 months at this point.  I guess I should see if those machines start!

Anyway...  Remember, folks, it is very important to be clear in what you ask for.  I can see that in learning Spanish, I get words flipped around often.  Oh and accent can be the difference between "año" (a year) and ano (something rude, butt we all have one). 

(Oooh!  I see what he's doing there!)




3 T-Rex stumbled upon a Magic Lamp and began rubbing the Lamp, summoning a Genie.

Genie: “Alright, since I can only grant 3 wishes and there are 3 of you, each of you gets 1 wish each!”

The 3 T-Rex were excited to hear the news as they were starving all day. This was their chance to feast like the kings!

T-Rex #1: “Alright, my wish is to have one big ol’ juicy piece of meat, the finest you can grant!”

The genie then granted the first T-Rex’s wish and down came one big ol’ juicy piece of meat.

The first T-Rex then realized he missed his opportunity to ask for a multitude of meats so he had to settle on just one piece of meat.

The second T-Rex realized the mistake of the first T-Rex and with that in mind, he walked up to the Genie.

T-Rex #2: “Alright, my wish is to be showered in meat, as many as possible!”

The genie then granted the second T-Rex’s wish and down came not one, but a hundreds of pieces of meat.

The second T-Rex then realized his own mistake of not asking for the juiciest and finest pieces of meat, so the second T-Rex had to settle on average tasting meat.

The third T-Rex realized the mistake of the first two and formulated his wish accordingly.

The third T-Rex thought to himself, “there’s no way I could possibly mess up like the other two.”

The third T-Rex began walking up to the Genie to ask for his wish.

T-Rex #3: “Alright, my wish is to have a meatier shower!”

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Badblocks - Conclusively Diagnosing a Harddrive with Linux

I was presented with a computer hard drive that "died". 

Since it was a SSD and useful size of 500 GB, I really did not want to throw it out.

Step 1 was to use FSCK to check the device.  Similar to CHKDSK on windows.  The drive was clean.  fsck -y /dev/sdc1

Step 2 was to clone my existing drive to it to test whether DD would detect problems.  The drive was clean. dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdc conv=noerror,sync status=progress

Step 3 was to realize there had to be a better way.

Badblock. 

It came on my Debian distribution.  Oh and "free" since I am using Linux for everything here.  If you are running Windows or Mac, download a "live" disk of Linux, find instructions on how to boot from a live computer and give it a go. 

What it will do is conclusively, and exhaustively test a hard drive by writing a pattern to it, byte by byte.  Then badblock will compare to see if it actually wrote onto the hard drive.

The end of my story is that drive was perfect, and I recommended to the client a replacement of the computer.  They did not want the drive back, and since the computer was "past the warranty" it was recycled.

Badblock is not generally recommended to be used to do a read only test.  Everywhere I have seen suggests using badblock to destructively test a hard drive.


Warning: This will destroy any data on the drive if you use the "-w" flag. 


This is also a way to securely wipe the data since you can tell badblock to do a number of passes using the -p flag.  For 1 Pass include -p 1 in the entry.  Five passes is -p 5 .

Set aside a block of time to do this.  My drive was on USB 3.0 and it took 29 Hours to complete.  YMMV!  Use USB 3 if you can, or plug it directly into the computer.

Step 1 - Connect the offending drive into a USB drive container, plug it into the testing computer, and power it on.

Step 2 - As Root, run "dmesg" in Terminal.  It will tell you at the end that you plugged a drive into your computer, what the device name is such as /dev/sdc,  and the block size of the drive in bytes.

Step 3 - Run the command.  Running this with the "-w" flag will destroy any data on the drive.

Final Warning - RUNNING THIS COMMAND WILL DESTROY ANY DATA ON THE DRIVE.   Badblock will refuse to run if the drive is mounted, so you may have to turn the drive off, and back on, to make sure the drive is unmounted. 

The Command that will wipe all data and conclusively test the drive for me was:

badblock -w -p 1 -b 512 -c 1024 -s /dev/sdc

First, if you see the picture at the top, I should have used 512 and not 4096.  It simply means that Badblock was a bit less efficient.  See the line in the picture that starts "[224902.607064]".

Second the -c 1024 seems unnecessary since it is testing 1024 blocks at a time.  64 is default.

Third since I did not specify the "-e" flag, it was to run to finish or report an error and terminate.  That was intentional.  If you have a lot of errors already on the drive, you can estimate the errors and list them in a text file to be used in badblocks to skip those. 

If you wanted to get fancy.

Mine ran to end of job and finished with a simple "Reading and comparing: done" message.

I now have a new-to-me 500GB SSD.  Yay for me, right?

Oh and that weird "^[[15~" stuff was from when I dropped my keyboard about 6 plus hours into the whole thing.  It spewed garbage into the terminal session but kept running.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

New personal best today! Most consecutive days lived.

A tough old cowboy from Texas counseled his granddaughter that if she wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a pinch of gun powder on her oatmeal every morning.

The granddaughter did this religiously until the age of 103, when she died.

She left behind 14 children, 30 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, 25 great-great-grandchildren, and a 40-foot hole where the crematorium used to be.





A farmer was picking apples when he heard a noise from his pond. He walks over and sees three young women skinny dipping.

They notice him and crouch in the water up to their shoulders. “Go away! Stop spying on us!”

The farmer says “Sorry ladies, but I didn’t come out here to see you naked.”

Holding up his apple bucket he says “I came to feed the alligator.”

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Why has nobody invented a belt with a watch on it? Because it’d be a waist of time.

A group of vegetables were robbing a bank

A group of vegetables were robbing the Bank of America, in the beginning their theft was going well they had everything under control and were looking to end the operation as they managed to get all the money they need.

But unfortunately for them the police arrived soon after and they got into a lockdown with the robbers in the bank and the police waiting outside ready to capture.

The veggies managed to use a couple of the bank employees as hostages to make a deal with the police to let them leave the bank in turn for letting them go. So the police trying to make sure everybody is safe agreed to the veggies' deal and they got the hostages back and let them go in return.

Obviously afterwards the police trying to not let the criminals escape they began to chase the vegetables.

After a a while the police finally managed to capture the vegetables and brought them back to investigate all the group members. There were 3 of them in total, the first veggie and the guy who seemed to be leader was a cucumber after discussing with him for a bit they decided it was best to move on the the next guy as he wasn't revealing any information.

The next veggie was a tomato he seemed to be very hot headed and also very strong it was fairly obvious on why he partook in the operation but he was so angry that he wasn't saying anything.

Finally the last veggie was the spinach, he seemed fairly weak and didn't seem very intimidating so the police were very confused about why he was there and he replied

"No one expects the spinach in question."


(Ok, so if you don't get this one, Think Monty Python)