September 2012 Archives

Shoe Down
September 30, 2012 3:15 PM | Posted in:

Photo of delaminated hiking boot

Looks like a muddy shoe, doesn't it? Only it's not. It's what a spontaneously delaminating Tecnica hiking boot looks like, and it's not a pretty sight...nor a pleasant experience when it happens while one is walking across a parking lot in a rainstorm.

That's precisely what happened to Debbie yesterday. She wore these boots to the office because of the torrential rains (it was her day off so she wasn't particularly concerned about office dress code) and around noon she noticed that the toe of the sole was starting to let go. Within 30 minutes or so, the entire sole sloughed off. That mud-looking stuff (that's a widely accepted hiking boot term of art, by the way) is - I think - the adhesive foam used to affix the outer sole to the shoe.

I've seen something similar to this before, when rubber products are stored in extremely hot temperatures for long periods, say, during a summer in West Texas. Rubber and related products simply disintegrate over time in such conditions. These boots were stored in a temperature-regulated closet, so that's not an explanation. Neither were they inexpensive shoes. They were, however, more than ten years old, so I assume the breakdown was age-related.

This was nothing more than an interesting annoyance, but what if it had occurred six miles into a wilderness hike? I'm not sure what lesson is, other than don't expect your footwear to last forever, and once it gets to a certain age, inspect it closely before using it for any "critical applications."

Two Things
September 29, 2012 7:15 AM | Posted in: ,

This is the first in what I hope will be a periodic - if not regular - series in which I share, well, two things. Each pair may or may not have some relationship to each other; it's possible that the only thing they have in common is that they happened to catch my eye at approximately the same time. If that seems lame, you won't get any argument from me. I'm still gonna do it.

Thing The First: The FLIZ

The website is in German, and Google's literal translation feature is occasionally lacking in clarity, but the photos tell the story: you hang from a crotch-chocking harness and try to run/glide, for reasons that are inexplicable no matter what language is used to describe them.

The FLIZ in action

I will readily admit to being attracted to unusual forms of human-powered transportation, but this crosses the line between unusual and creepy/painful. Still, I can admire the quality of the build of this prototype, and the use of dual disc brakes on an apparatus that likely will never go more than 15 mph has a certain irrational appeal. And Schwalbe makes great tires, so it has that going for it. But even the sporty Tour de France-yellow paint job won't save it from being an eternal solution in search of a problem.

Tip o'the cycling cap to My Life In Recline

Thing The Second: The Kel-Tec KSG 12-Gauge Shotgun

Kel-Tec is known throughout the shooting community as a manufacturer of inexpensive-but-competent handguns. Its palm-sized P3-AT .380 Auto is extremely popular as a concealed carry weapon. I've owned one for years, but I only recently learned that Kel-Tec makes rifles, and is a new entrant into the market for tactical shotguns. And their first offering in that category is a fascinating piece of firearmory:

The Kel-Tec KSR shotgun


The KSG (Kel-Tec Shot Gun...they apparently don't spend a lot on branding research) is one bad-looking piece of equipment with its dual-tube magazine tubes (holding 12 rounds) and industrial grade Picatinny upper sight rail. This is not your father's quail hunting boomer, and you wouldn't be allowed through the gate at any trap-shooting establishment. But if you're a shotgun enthusiast, the KSR is almost too cool to ignore.



Got a suggestion for something that's Two Thing-worthy? Email it to fireant@ericsiegmund.com and you might extend your 15 minutes of fame by a nanosecond or two!

A Damp Tour Through the Neighborhood
September 28, 2012 10:10 AM | Posted in:

I'm pretty sure we're setting some kind of rainfall record in Midland, Texas today. While it's not unusual to have monsoonal downpours in September, it's been years since we've actually experienced one.

I'm of the opinion that, except for reasons of bereavement or illness, there's no such thing as a bad day off, especially in weather like this, so I took the opportunity to stroll around our neighborhood park, protected by an umbrella, and snap some photos of the result of the rain that started early this morning (and continues as I type this). 

Those of you in more moist climates may roll your eyes at making such a to-do over something that seems commonplace to you, but we've just received more rain in the past six hours than we got during the entire year of 2010. It's hard to overestimate the value of this precipitation to our region, in ecological, economic, and even psychological terms.

Except for the mosquitos, of course.

Well, anyway, here are a few pictures that might be meaningful to those of you who have visited our neighborhood.

I emptied the gauge at this point because I wasn't sure how much more rain we'd get.

Photo

Need to set up the follow two shots. The first was taken last weekend, on a [dry] Sunday afternoon. The second is from this morning, from approximately the same perspective. The bird has mysteriously vanished. I'm pretty sure it didn't drown, though.

Photo

Photo

If you've been to our south pond, you know that the dock usually sits a couple of feet above the surface of the water. Research has shown that docks that sit above the water are more effective for most purposes, although geese tend toward skepticism.

Photo

Trees are generally scofflaws and/or contemptuous of accepted societal norms.

Photo

This is why we love the rain. OK, it's misleading to imply that purple sage blooms because of the rain, or even in anticipation of it; in reality, it kinda does its own thing, oblivious to our tendency to attribute intentional prophetic meteorological insight to its life cycle. But it's still prettier in the rain.

Photo

The stream bed wasn't really much more frantic than usual, although there were signs it had overflowed its banks a few hours earlier, but scenes like this are a good reason to live in our neighborhood.

Photo


A Damp Tour Through the Neighborhood
September 28, 2012 10:10 AM | Posted in: ,

I'm pretty sure we're setting some kind of rainfall record in Midland, Texas today. While it's not unusual to have monsoonal downpours in September, it's been years since we've actually experienced one.

I'm of the opinion that, except for reasons of bereavement or illness, there's no such thing as a bad day off, especially in weather like this, so I took the opportunity to stroll around our neighborhood park, protected by an umbrella, and snap some photos of the result of the rain that started early this morning (and continues as I type this). 

Those of you in more moist climates may roll your eyes at making such a to-do over something that seems commonplace to you, but we've just received more rain in the past six hours that we got during the entire year of 2010. It's hard to overestimate the value of this precipitation to our region, in ecological, economic, and even psychological terms.

Except for the mosquitos, of course.

Well, anyway, here are a few pictures that might be meaningful to those of you who have visited our neighborhood.

I emptied the gauge at this point because I wasn't sure how much more rain we'd get.
(Update - the next morning: Good thing I emptied it yesterday; there was another 3" in the gauge.)

Photo

Need to set up the follow two shots. The first was taken last weekend, on a [dry] Sunday afternoon. The second is from this morning, from approximately the same perspective. The bird has mysteriously vanished. I'm pretty sure it didn't drown, though.

Photo

Photo

If you've been to our south pond, you know that the dock usually sits a couple of feet above the surface of the water. Research has shown that docks that sit above the water are more effective for most purposes, although geese tend toward skepticism.

Photo

Trees are generally scofflaws and/or contemptuous of accepted societal norms.

Photo

This is why we love the rain. OK, it's misleading to imply that purple sage blooms because of the rain, or even in anticipation of it; in reality, it kinda does its own thing, oblivious to our tendency to attribute intentional prophetic meteorological insight to its life cycle. But it's still prettier in the rain.

Photo

The stream bed wasn't really much more frantic than usual, although there were signs it had overflowed its banks a few hours earlier, but scenes like this are a good reason to live in our neighborhood.

Photo


You're familiar with the K├╝bler-Ross Model, right, otherwise known as The Five Stages of Grief? Of course you are; you recall well that it formed the basis of an entire movie starring Roy Scheider as a shark. Well, he wasn't actually a shark. He was a dancer with shark-like tendencies. But I digress.

Newspaper Boy StampI've found that The Five Stages of Grief can be applied to many things in life, not the least of which is waking up in the morning and finding that your newspaper has inexplicable and quite unfairly not been delivered to your front doorstep. Can you relate?

  1. Denial - It must be here; I'm simply overlooking it. Maybe it's on the roof; I'll bet it went down the chimney. *staggers off in an ill-advised search for a ladder*

  2. Anger - *(&%%&(*^ *staggers off in an ill-advised search for a handgun*

  3. Bargaining - OK, I swear I'll send the delivery guy a Christmas card this year. And put a tip in it. And I'll extend my subscription five years at a time.

  4. Depression - My life is over. I might as well watch the news on TV.

  5. Acceptance - Facebook it is.

Drill Site Scenes
September 21, 2012 10:28 PM | Posted in: ,

*tap* *tap* Is this thing on?

Yeah, I know...it's been a while. Life gets in the way of blogging, quite frequently nowadays. I miss it. Well, we do what we can, right?

One of the facets of life that's interfered with my extracurricular activities is that job-like thing I attend to most days. Working in the drilling department of an oil company doesn't afford the best ever outlet for creativity, but that's not to say that I'm not getting to see and learn some very interesting things. I get to leave the office every now and then to visit a drill site, and I always try to remember to take a camera along. Of course, finding time to do something with the photos is an additional challenge, but I finally set aside some time tonight to fire up Photoshop and run a few recent pictures through the pixel grinder. Below is one of images that crawled out of the rathole (and the others are now lodged in the front end of the Gazette Gallery; feel free to visit at your leisure and see what results from busy hands and an idle mind).

Stylized photo of a crane on a oil well drilling site

Tips for Recognizing Hacked Facebook Messages
September 1, 2012 8:38 PM | Posted in:

Earlier today, I received the following message from a Facebook friend:

Eric,

There's this house i'm interested in. The Company selling it put it up on their online catalogue. Please i need your help, go through it and tell me what you think. Don't want to make any crazy decision.

www.facebook.com/l/MAQHc37TSAQG_1k9-Wamxt74jv4CvhYteFrESiRpC2wT5-Q/xoes.xxmn.com/remax/remax/index.htm

Thanks.

Looks innocuous, doesn't it...just a heartfelt plea for some friendly advice. In actuality, the message was sent from a hacked Facebook account and the link (which in the original message was clickable) no doubt leads to a malware-loading or phishing website. I didn't follow it to find out; feel free to test it yourself and let me know the result.

So, how did I know this message was bogus? After all, it came from a legitimate Facebook friend (whose identity I won't reveal), and it came via Facebook's legitimate message feature.

Let me share the process I went through to determine this was a message with a nefarious intent, and perhaps you'll find it useful in applying critical thinking to your social media activities.

First, I used some common sense to assess the validity of the content of the message itself. I know this friend well enough as a former co-worker to realize that he would never solicit advice from me regarding a new home purchase. He refers to "the Company" and that's a red flag since we haven't been co-workers for more than a decade and as far as I know he doesn't work for the CIA. He's also American, and would never spell "catalogue" that way. In other words, the request didn't pass the sniff test; it just smelled funny.

Then there's the hyperlink. It does contain the word "remax" which is a legitimate realtor...but that term doesn't show up as the primary web address. It's a directory located somewhere within something called xxmn.com, which I've never heard of and I'm pretty sure I don't want to know anything more about.

Given those two warning signs - an out-of-character message containing an obviously bogus hyperlink - I messaged my friend with a warning that his Facebook account may have been hacked, and deleted the message.

However, it's not exactly that simple. Instead of replying via email to the message I received from Facebook, I went to my own Facebook account, clicked on the Friends link, found the sender's link, went to his Facebook wall, and messaged him from there. Why? Because, out of an abundance of caution, I was avoiding the possibility that the real danger of that message was not necessarily in the bogus hyperlink it contained, but in the email itself.  For all I knew, someone was spoofing Facebook's email address and my replying to it would have opened me up to additional harrassment. (I'm being a bit overdramatic in this regard, because it was actually pretty simple to confirm that the email was sent legitimately through the Facebook messaging system. If you don't know how to do this, use the circuitous-but-safe route I just described.)

I think Facebook has gone a long way in closing security holes, but there's one that will never disappear completely: the lax/uninformed/non-cautious user. As long as bad guys can access legitimate user accounts, they'll continue to generate social media malfeasance. So, use a strong password (you do what that means, don't you?) and change it regularly and don't put it on a sticky note on your monitor and don't let your kids login into your account. We'll all be happier as result.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2012 is the previous archive.

October 2012 is the next archive.

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