Tale of Two Grills

On Saturday, I bought a new grill in preparation for my annual party on Wednesday. I was tired of the using the old charcoal grill that I inherited with my apartment. It was pain clean out the old ashes, a pain to light the charcoal even with a chimney starter, a pain to grill just at the right time. So I got the cheapest gas grill I could find. Yesterday, I tried it out because I had never cooked with a gas grill. I couldn’t get the gas cylinder screwed in. I think I had it cross-threaded. It wouldn’t light. Then, it wouldn’t unscrew. I think I may have been turning it the wrong direction since the directions said turn counter-clockwise to undo which is wrong. Finally, part of the burner broke off with the regulator. With a better grip, I was able to get it unscrewed. But now the cheapo grill was broken. I sent an email to the company and would like to get a refund but I don’t expect much from $20 grill.

Today, I bought a new grill. I got a Weber Baby Q which is a well-reviewed portable. It was expensive enough that there were cheap standup grills for the same price. I wanted the portable since I can see taking it camping. It was much easier to setup unlike the cheap one which had to be assembled; three screws vs eleven. The cylinder screwed in perfectly. I did have to remove the cylinder holder since I had a 16.4 oz bottle and it takes longer, thinner 14.1 oz bottles. The flame lit easily; I could fine the starter button unlike the cheap one. The construction is solid. I didn’t worry about it falling off the little table. And the food was yummy.

Passport

I got my passport today after just a week which eliminates all my worries about one for my trip to St Martin. It looks like the passport was issued on Friday and sent overnight. I was surprised that it showed up so quickly when there have been lots of reports of delays. Maybe a renewal is easier than new application. Or they noticed the travel date and prioritized it.

It isn’t one of the new electronic passports. It has the same design as my old one and not the new design. It doesn’t have the logo which indicates an RFID chip containing identifying information. I am sort of relieved that I can go another ten years before I get a privacy violating one.

St Martin

I am going on vacation to St Martin the second week of July. I am going with my friends Jan and Alethya who I went to Hawaii and other places with. St Martin is an island in the Caribbean divided between France (Saint-Martin) and Dutch (Sint Maarten). It is near Anguilla, St Kitts, and St Barts in the Leeward Islands.

The only potential problem is my passport. I let it expire a year ago. The passport office is swamped by applications from the new requirements for passports when returning from North America. I sent my renewal off yesterday paying for expedited processing and overnight delivery. The expedited processing is supposed to be up to 3 weeks. Luckily, they just started a waiver program where the receipt of a passport application and photo ID is sufficient to get back.

Reverse proxy mirror

Does anybody know of software that could be used to build a mirroring reverse proxy? I am looking for something to cache and mirror files for distributions and other archives of mostly static files.

To clients, it looks like a copy of the archive. If a file does not exist, or is too old, it is fetched from the master servers and saved to disk. The files can be populated from CDs or mirrored through rsync to get complete copies. Ideally, it would load balance from multiple mirror servers.

It is possible to set something up with Apache2, modproxy, and moddisk_cache but that does not allow load balancing between servers and stores files in an opaque cache.

Would Perlbal be usable for this? Could it be extended? I am leaning toward writing a mod_perl module.

Portland Tram

Last weekend, I took a ride on the Portland Tram. The Tram opened this February and goes from the South Waterfront to OHSU on Marquam Hill. The tower is easily visible just south of Ross Island Bridge and just south of I-5. The cost was a rather large $4. I went on Saturday but it sounds like last Sunday was the first one that they are open. I rode to the top, took lots of pictures, and rode the next one down. There is a good view of downtown and the east side. The view to the south is blocked on the top but is good from the tram.

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Silver Falls

Two weeks ago, I went to Silver Falls State Park with my coworker Tim and his wife Nariyo. This was my fourth time going to Silver Falls, which is east of Salem, and their first time. Only did a little bit of hiking and saw North Falls, walked the short trial to Upper North Falls. We had a picnic at the lodge. We hiked down to South Falls and took the trail that loops behind it.

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BarCamp Portland

On May 12, I went to BarCamp Portland, an ad-hoc tech mini-convention at CubeSpace. I got there late in the afternoon and only went to a couple of talks. I went to a talk on Open Hardware and one on scaling Ruby. I saw a couple of people I knew but didn’t really chat much. It also looked at the most of the interesting stuff was happening in informal chats. I thought it was interesting that I didn’t see any sessions on Perl but there were lots of Ruby and Rails. I did play with an OLPC.

Gaelic Storm

On April 28, I saw Gaelic Storm at the Aladdin Theater. They are one of my favorite bands, a high energy Irish band. They also turned out to be an awesome live band.

Vancouver Waterfront

A month ago I discovered a nice spot that I didn’t know existed in Vancouver. Vancouver’s Waterfront Park starts at the east end of the Interstate Bridge. It connects to a path that goes along the Columbia River passing through Marine Park and Tidewater Cove. The road, Columbia Way, and the sidewalk also go under the Interstate Bridge to Vancouver’s downtown.

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Slony Presentation

I will giving a presentation on Slony tomorrow 4/17 at 7 pm for the Portland PostgreSQL Users Group at FreeGeek.