Robin Killed Smoke + Cedar

So the TNT ran an article today that the Smoke + Cedar is closing. I’m blaming Robin and her devastating Yelp Review. After a year and a half, it’s still the most “helpful” review, and it’s not the most flattering. However Robin is not to blame. I have it on good authority that is more of a problem between SMOKE + CEDAR and the Elks Club.

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The Hike I Cannot Tell You About

12049216_10154344110668986_5139853329590833771_nSo we went on a hike on the Washington Coast last weekend and it was amazing. After a 3 hour drive and 2 mile gentle hike, we found ourselves on the Washington coast… and I cannot tell you how to get there.

You see when we went on the hike to Tubal Cain Mine last year we were joined by some friends Anne and Paul. As is customary with any hike, once the evening sets in and you’re huddled around the flashlight lantern (burn bans) you start talking about hikes.

Well Ann and Paul told us about a place along the Pacific North West Trail that sounded wonderful. They then swore us to secrecy about their secret trail head that turned a 14 mile round trip into a 4 mile round trip.

Well last weekend we finally got around to doing that.  It was great time, except for when some of our party went off trail mushroom hunting and lost their way for a little while. I brought along the KX3 and borrowed Chris’ HAM Stick to see if I could make some QRP QSOs with a saltwater ground plane. Total fail. I really have to work on my QRP skills. Because of the surf and beach, there was no easy way total advantage of the saltwater for the radials on my antenna. I could hear plenty of activity on 15 meters for the CQ Worldwide DX contest going on. My 5 Watts was just not cutting it though. I should have just brought an antenna launcher and set up a random wire antenna in the trees.

For lunch I had my now traditional steak and roasted peppers prepared over my BioLite Stove and grill, along with a good single malt scotch.

Afterwords, thanks to our mushroom hunters we has some fresh chanterelle mushrooms at the trail head before heading home.

So it’s hard to write this hike up and also stick to our non-disclosure agreement with Anne and Paul about revealing how we go there… I’ll just say that if you enter the destination into Google Maps, it will take you to the very spot where we parked the Jeep.

So here are some heavily redacted photos so as to keep the location safe.


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More Power!

kxpa100_fr_1280So my 100W linear amplifier arrived today. Made by Elecraft, the same people who made my KX3 radio. Going to use if for Salmon Run this weekend.

Chris (N7CPM) and I have a strategy for Salmon Run. Find the county with the history of the fewest operators and set our stations. That turned out to be Ferry county. The same Ferry county that my friend Linda and her husband Phil moved to recently and start a B&B in Kettle Falls, WA.

So Chris and I are spending the weekend there and plan on being one of the most popular stations. Since everyone will batteling to get Kettle Falls to sweep all counties for the contest.


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The Worst-Designed Thing You’ve Never Noticed

Robin and were having a relaxed Sunday morning and we started watching a TED Talk on the TV. It was about design and flags. It was a great 18 minute presentation. When the presenter Roman Mars started talking about City Flags, we paused it, and looked up Tacoma. It was apparently obvious that the flag violated the 5 rules of flag design he shared moments earlier. We pressed play, and a minute later Roman showed a slide containing 10 examples of bad city flags – there much to our amusement was the City of Tacoma’s flag.

It’s a fun presentation and informative at same time. I highly recommend you watch it when you have 18 minutes. Don’t worry people of Tacoma, you have nothing to worry about, just check out the flag for the city of Milwaukee or Pocatello.

tacoma flag


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Boulder Lake

Our Route

Our Route

Boulder Lake sits at 4,900′ below Hurricane Peak in the North Cascades. Situated NE of Darrington, WA.

When I was first invited to this hike I had a hard time finding information about it. Searching online kept bringing me to a Boulder Lake in the Olympics. I was able to find a few entries about it on WTA.ORG. However when trying to find a map of the trail online or on paper I failed. From what I understand the main road to the trail suffered a washout and until recently had been closed.

Boulder Lake

Boulder Lake

This is a steep hike. The destination is well worth it. After the first mile following the remains of an old road you start to ascend, and ascend. You gain 2,000′ in just under 3 miles. The trail becomes hard to follow in some places, and takes you over boulder fields (watch for trail markers to help you get across). The last scramble up a 400′ tall scree brings you to an alpine lake view that is breath taking.

Here is my Gaia GPS tracks from the trip, including a slideshow.


The Meals

browniesFor this trip I took along my trusty 25 year old Backpackers Pantry Outback Oven – 8″ Ultra-Light and made two treats. Friday night after a long day of hiking, I baked brownies after dinner. However since we arrived so late and everyone was tired, it was dark and half our party went to bed before they were finished. Just how do you keep fresh baked brownies ate camp site until morning and not attract critters? I ran the risk and just put a large rock on top of the oven to keep anything smaller than a bear out of it. The leftovers survived the night just fine.

fresh bread

Fresh baked bread

The next day I made a fresh white bread round. To go with it I brought a couple of small tubes, one with olive oil, the other with balsamic vinegar for dipping. With eight people, it did not last long.

Saturday a single trout was caught. Kendra fried it up and shared. Everyone had a bite along with their dinner.

Sunday morning was simply the best breakfast I have had in a long time. I made a double tall latte with my trail espresso maker, and with my cup of quick oats and milk I had fresh blueberries that Corrine had picked. All the while having a wonder view of the lake that was so still it was like a mirror.


Of course I had to make a movie too. Gallery of photos at the end of this post.


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The New iPhones are coming in September

I’ve been watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix and just saw this scene. Will you be ready for September and the iPhone 6S or 7?

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Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Driver in It | WIRED

I was driving 70 mph on the edge of downtown St. Louis when the exploit began to take hold.

Source: Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It | WIRED

I’m already getting emails and facebook post about this story.

The above story just scares the &^%%$# out of me. Not to worry, my Jeep is safe from this sort of attack. I do not have an internet enabled uConnect unit. That was by choice. Security was one reason, however it was way down the list. We all knew this day was coming – right?

The main reason I did not get a full on uConnect system for my Jeep was all these functions are on my phone already.  I have a way to maintain them and update them, and if I change platforms my Jeep does not care. The uConnect system and others like MS Sync – all fail to live up to their hype for a lot of reasons.

For me one example was going off-road. If I want up to update maps on my uConnect navigation – I need to pay a large fee for a DVD to update. Will the maps be supported in say – 10 years? On the other hand I can use Gaia GPS on my iPhone and download recent maps off-line and use my phone to track, and even export my trip to be used on Google Earth. Try and export your tracks from your cars navigation system – not easy huh?

I do not have to worry about my Jeep being hacked. I just have worry about my phone being hacked – but then who does not worry about that?

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There is Smoke in the Bedroom

UnknownThis is one of those times that being an early adopter comes back and bites you.

So this just happened… Nest Protect (smoke alarm) went off in the bedroom. Whole house starts telling me that there is “smoke in the bedroom”. Ran upstairs. No smoke, no emergency. So go to hush the alarm and the unit tells me “this alarm cannot be hushed”. I try to use the iPhone App to silence it – tells me that I have to push the button on the unit. WTH?? I have to grab a step stool, remove the unit and disconnect the power, of course it has battery back up. So then I have to find a screw driver to open the case and remove the batteries. The entire time I am hearing “beep beep beep There is smoke in the bedroom”. Silence at last. Did some reading and this seems to be an issue with Nest these days.

The good news? It did not happen at 2AM. The better news? Nest is sending me new unit for free.

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Robin on the Big Screen with Leonard Maltin!

Months ago Robin went to the Grand Cinema in Tacoma to see a movie with her sister and her niece. They were interviewing patrons in the lobby and talked to Natalie with Robin and her sister in the background.

We just got a call from Robins mother, there are showing the ad for the grand – that includes the interview. A quick search shows this same video on their YouTube channel. So here is Robin, her sister, and her niece with an introduction from Leonard Matlin.

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NYSE Explains Why It Went Down Wednesday | TIME

This article points out a couple of things to me. 1) The scope of Change Management at the NYSE has to be astoundingly huge. 2) A single failed change can cost you a lot in reputation and money.

Either way it sounds like there was a failure in their processes. Because it’s so visible, the next story we are going see is who looses their job over it.

However I still wonder about the story of Anonymous cryptic tweet the day before this failure. Could this be all smoke an mirrors to avoid telling the world they had a breach? I’m not much into conspiracies, however that tweet was rather prophetic.

Source: NYSE Explains Why It Went Down Wednesday | TIME

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