California road-trip 2013: Day 7, sun, sand, and some surf viewing

We like to get the kids out first thing in the AM, before it gets too hot.  Charlotte has a friend she met down at Dinosaur Caves park this week, so we went down there to play around 9 AM.

A quick trip down to Arroyo Grande this PM to shop at Von’s – yes, we shop daily in these parts.  We went out later on with the kids to Spyglass Park to play on the pirate ship there.  They ended up in a (California) gold-mining role-play with the sand and the stand-up shower unit down there – good times panning for gold nuggets in that thar playground sand.

I peeked over the cliff edge, and could see one surfer was out on St Ann’s break.  Follow the link in the image to a description of this surf spot.  There is not much swell right now, but he got a few rides so that was fun to watch.  I have not been out on the waves yet….

California road-trip 2013: Day 6, local playgrounds again

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Mitchell Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We tour several playgrounds when we are here.  After the morning jaunt at the Dinosaur Caves, we came home for a spontaneous outbreak of “family band”.  That’s right – grab an instrument and jam!  We had bottles, pie plates, the cooler, and various other noise-makers going on in the side-yard, next to the fuschia garden.  Good thing I made a few voice memos on the spot so we could enjoy that round later.

We then when into San Luis Obispo to do some shopping, and then have a play-session at  Mitchell Park.  Huge fun there, with some other local kids in a round of something like “good guys or bad guys”.

Returned home in the PM to cook up family-dinner, then get ready for story-time, and lights-out….

The solstice approaches….

 

California road-trip 2013: Day 5, part-time residents again

We’re off to do the things we usually do as part-time residents of Shell Beach.  Hit the local coffee shop, and go to Dinosaur Caves Park to play in the morning.  After coming home for a break, we hit New Frontiers Market to get our groceries and supplies.  Somewhere along the way, we’ll grab waters and other beverages to quench the thirst, then return to Shell Beach to relax.

California road-trip 2013: Day 4, are we there yet ?

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Shell Beach, CA

Took the road west out of Tracy, CA this morning, and drove through this neat windmill farm on the way to the Bay Area.

We took route 505 west, and then went down south past Gilroy, heading for Salinas, and the 101 route south.

We’d driven hundreds of miles through farmland, ranch territory, and wine country, and the kids were really looking forward to getting off the road.

If you’ve driven south on the 101 past San Luis Obispo, you know that you get the first glimpse of the ocean just past the Avila Beach Road exit, just over the crest of that hill.

We told the kids that we’d play a fun game as we crested the hill – first one to glimpse the ocean could shout it out.  I watched in the rear-view mirror as they were both peeping wide-eyed through the front window, looking so expectantly for that wide-open ocean, marking the end of the long road-trip.

Right after the Pacific was spotted, we took the first exit, and landed at our destination, in Shell Beach, CA.

California road-trip 2013: Day 3, travel in theory, and in practice

Left Yreka, CA in full sun this morning, with kids very eager to reach destination.  We had lots of discussion today about how far the trip was in miles, and how long that would take.

Are we there yet ?

Many teachable moments along the way including looking at the road-signs, and seeing how many miles to the target, and then checking our average speed to see how long it might take to get there.

Travel to our destination definitely takes longer in practice.

We made a playground stop in Stockton, before calling it a day in Tracy, CA.

I have fond memories of the last visit to Tracy, when I found this Indian sweet shop at the edge of town, and grabbed a box of sweets for the trip north.  This time, I ordered us a 24″ pizza from Milano’s and GADZOOKS that was a massive meal.  Got quite sleepy after that, so no trip out for sweets….

 

California road-trip 2013 : Day 2, many Oregon miles

Was kind of nice to be pulling out of East Vancouver this morning, taking a different route south over the Columbia River than in the past.

We were on the 205 southbound, so headed through a different stretch of freeway than usual.  Soon it was on to the I-5, and more familiar stretches of asphalt.

Made a great stop in Cottage Grove.  As in the past, Cottage Grove always has a pleasant surprise or too.  This time, I spied an espresso trailer on the main strip into the downtown area, so did a U-turn to double-back and take decisive action on ordering a coffee or two.  Well, not so fast Coreman.

The view from the road concealed the rather extensive menu of items that they offered, posted near the back patio.  Milkshakes, smoothies, and all sorts of different coffee drinks were on tap.  Huh!  Well, the kids sorted their way into a 16 oz. milkshake split into 2 cups, and I teed up a coffee of some sort – and we were only having a wee bit of drama on their front-patio assembling that order. You see, splitting 1 big drink into 2 is apparently too much like sharing. *ahem*. Anyhoo, all was going well until it came time to pay. Too bad I failed to notice the little sign politely advising that they accept CASH only.  You can imagine my surprise when the owner there offered me the drinks on the house, as she could see I was only packing plastic!

*oops!*

Anyhoo – it all worked out.  I dug up 2 $1 American coins, and a $5 Canuck bill that I assured her the bank would take roughly at par.

*whew*

Back on the freeway, with more adventures to come…..we landed in Rogue River, had a pizza, then got back on the road, landing in Yreka, CA soon after.

California road-trip 2013 : Day 1, south, north, south

Just spent a week in Austin, Texas on a business trip, that I might also describe as a teaching and learning trip.  I was down at SailPoint, learning all about their enterprise identity management product called IdentityIQ. That whole trip deserves a blog of it’s own, so I’ll focus here on the family-vacation.

The flight back from the USA went fairly smooth : AUS to SFO to YYJ.  The transfer in San Francisco was a little tight, with only 40 minutes between landing and take-off.  My bags made it, and so did I, into YYJ at 11:40 PM or so.  Shared a cab into downtown, so home shortly after midnight.

Just enough time to put on some laundry, and re-pack the bags.  Also did some household chores, and hit the sack at 3:30 AM or so.

Managed to rise about 5:30 AM to put the dog out, and then decided to stay up and keep packing.  Oh yah, needed a trip to the bank downtown, and the grocery store for last minute pickups.  Not feeling too bad after that nap, but I’m sure it would catch up with me later.

Managed to pack the fam into the van, and arrive at the COHO dock around 9:20 AM to secure our reservation.  Full-on sunshine for the trip south, and we spent most of the voyage on the outer-decks running up and down the length of the ship.  Kids with beans for sure.

Quick stop in Port Angeles for groceries, then a gas-up just past Sequim.  The usual stop at Hoodsport Coffee for ice creams, and americano.  I see they have a sign in their window : Thinking of Retirement – Business for Sale.

We ended up in Vancouver, WA, slightly east of downtown at the Best Western.  The indoor pool and hot-tub did the trick for an hour or so after we landed.

The fatigue never really caught up with me, and we had a pretty good trip down the 101 and the I-5.  Onward, and southward tomorrow!

 

Hangin at the beach

Long weekend, sunshine, and sand. Here we are at the beach, making like it is summertime.  Ok, so more like spring-time in BC, and it is a hot day.  And, while I was down at the beach, I posted this entry using the WP app for iPhone – pretty slick I say – something I’ve wanted since oh, 2003 or so – real device-based blog-authoring.

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WordCamp 2013 notes

I attended WordCamp 2013 (Victoria, BC) this past weekend, my first time at the event.  As a WordPress enthusiast, I was looking forward to meeting some like-minded folks, to network, and learn some techie stuff about WordPress.

I really enjoyed the Experts Panel which was a solid un-moderated hour of Q & A.  I have an interest in how to build out WordPress network sites that can handle a lot of concurrent read and write traffic.  There is a lot of information online about clustering WP, setting up caching servers, database performance tuning, webserver tuning, etc.  At the panel I learned that:

  • high-volume sites are often hosted using nginx, instead of Apache (does that turn LAMP into LNMP?)
  • there is the scalingwp.wordpress.com web site
  • object-caching can be performed with memcached and APC
  • there is some debate about fastcgi mode WP
  • among the core WP developers, Mark Jaquith has online info about scaling WP, even on a budget.
  • another core WP developer of note to research scaling WP is Pete Mall
  • there are consulting agents out there that can provide scaling skills, who have been there and done that
  • HTTPS configuration in WP is not necessarily a slam-dunk.  You may have to resort to hacking plugins, as the whole framework is not necessarily united on how to provide HTTPS links
  • lots of talk about HyperDB for database scaling

I also enjoyed a session by John Overall on 10+1 essential plugins for WordPress.  That is where I learned about the LoginRadius plugin for social identity integration – a neat Canadian SaaS startup!  John posted the slide show on the Meetup site I think….

Ben put up a blog post with his notes from the session here.

getting wpa2 wifi going on Acer Netbook with Linux

I’d like to issue thanks to everyone in the world who has posted anything online that relates to getting an Acer Aspire One Netbook, running any Linux distro, connected to an enterprise WPA2 wireless segment.  Turns out your mileage may vary, depending on if you want to get it working “out of the box”.

With the goal to have it “just work”, I went through 3 distros in 3 days, finally landing on Ubuntu 11, where things just worked.  Ok, I had to select the correct CA cert, but got that sorted out fairly quickly (used /etc/ssl/certs/Thawte_Premium_Server_CA.pem)

I gave it a go with the latest crunchbang linux distro, and that failed on connecting to the SSID segments I was trying here at UVic, both EDUROAM, and UVIC.  I got connected to UVicOPEN segment, with a Cisco VPN tunnel, so that was a work-around.

On trying Ubuntu 12, I ran into some known issues with the level of openssl packages that are installed with the distro, so backed out to Ubuntu 11, and that worked for me.

I really dig the EDUROAM connectivity, so just want that to work with a minimum of futzing.  Yes, I still truly enjoy Linux futzing, and all the learning involved, but find myself with less time for such things than when I was running Slackware in the 90s.

Anyhoo, it’s all good for now…thanks all!