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It’s pronounced MacAbee by the way. (-: We planned on diving Monastery Beach and get a nice deep dive in, however conditions were too rough. So, we ended up just doing a nice easy dive at McAbee. There is actually a web cam of the beach. Here’s a blurb on it. It’s a nice place to do an easy dive.Todays dive began pretty normal. We swam out from the beach about a hundred yards or so before dropping down into the kelp. Visibility was poor, only about 10-15 feet at best. Water was 56 on the surface and 52 degrees down around 35ft. We saw a lot of rock fish, star fish, sun stars, anemones, etc etc. It was going to be one of those not too terribly memorable dives.

We did see a Harbor Seal swimming around us on occasion. A grey, about 4ft long or so. Not too terribly large, pretty average in size for this area really. We ended up so far out in the bay that we passed half a dozen divers that were diving off of the Monterey Express dive boat. We popped up to the surface to get a bearing, and there it was only about 30-40 yards from us. Oops, we got out a bit.

What made the dive so interesting was that as we approached the shore we had three more harbor seals surface within 10 feet of us and then kind of hung around as we worked our way to shore. One of them kept swimming down around our fins as we kicked in. It actually came in and let Kirk rub it’s belly with his flippers. It rubbed up against my fins several times as we worked in. It was a really neat experience. It was cautious around us, but not afraid. It KNEW it could out maneuver us and kick our butts if we got out of line. (-:

I just wish I could have gotten a picture of it when it had my fin pinned between it’s flipper and body and was just looking at me. It was really neat.

Harbor Seal on the surface

Imagine this when your in the water with it. It’s great.

Harbor Seal Swimming underwater

Cute little guys. So curious and friendly.

Looks like Kirk and I will be doing a dive of Monastery Beach tomorrow. We’re slowly but surely working our way outward from the Monterey Penninsula. This dive looks like it will be interesting because we’ll have the opportunity to drop down just about as deep as we want. The Carmel Canyon comes in at that point. One diver commented that you can drop down to 130ft, sit on the edge of the canyon and have your flipplers dangling over nothingness.

 Kirk and I will probably keep it around 60ft or so this dive. I still need to make sure that diving deeper won’t effect my blood sugars in any funky way.

Here is a review of Monastery Beach from, one from Saint Brendon, and this one here. I like the last one. It references Monastery Beach as Mortuary Beach.

Monterey Canyon 

I’ll try to update the website tomorrow night after the dives. This one looks to be fun. (-:


Why is it that two of the supposedly most democratic and advanced countries in the world, the United States and Britain, are now two of the most invasive when it comes to privacy? Britain now monitors it’s people closer than North Korea and China. Two countries that our News Media touts as such horrors when it comes to individual freedoms.

Using the excuse of Terrorism has founded a whole new industry withing the United States.

Let’s open peoples mail without a warrant. Why? Terrorism of course.

Let’s listen to peoples phone conversations. Why? Terrorism of course.

Let’s put a fence across the Mexican/US border. Why? Terrorism. (When was the last time you heard of a Mexican terrorist enter the US? Never? Hmmmmm….)

There are so many examples where the catch phrase of “Terrorism” is being used to advance a career, make money, or push a political agenda. It’s a form of domestic terrorism in itself.

Wikipedia: definitions of terrorism include only those acts which are intended to create fear or “terror”.

Okay. So, a terrorist is someone who creates fear or terror. Say, CNN? MSNBC? ABCnews? These are all “for profit” news agencies that have been sensationalizing the news to raise their viewership. Scaring people raises their ratings. How many times have you sat and watched the news, only to hear over and over again how the world is going to end, your in danger if you go out, North Korea is going to use Nukes to kill us all, blah blah blah. So, by the definition of Wikipedia they are ALL terrorism organizations. Ya, I know, I know, I’m taking it too far. But am I?

I just find it so frustrating that so much money, time, and freedom is being wasted in the name of Terrorism. When in reality it’s just a way to push someones agenda, make a buck, or hold power over someone. Most terrorism incentives do NOT increase the safety of the American public. It just puts more beaurocracy in place.

Ya, I’ve probably lost my security clearance now, because I’ve question all this bull. All in fun.

I read an article on slashdot about using Ubuntu linux. It was called “Thirty Days with Ubuntu.” The guy raved about how good it was. There is some really good information in the article also. Now, I’m a pretty good linux guy, installing and maintaining Red Hat Server, SUSE Enterprise Server, Fedora Core, and SUSE here at work. Linux works pretty good for work and as a server platform. But using it as a daily desktop system, well, it still has a ways to go. Anyhow, I decided that I would give Ubuntu a try for the first time last week. Talk about an easy install, easiest I’ve seen to date, and SUSE is a pretty easy install.  Put in the cd, boot the system, hit yes a few times. Boom, bam, done.

 I installed it originally on a Compaq Evo N800c laptop that was given to me at work. Not the fastest laptop in the world, but not too bad either. 2.6 ghz processor, 256mb memory, and a 40 gb hard drive. It’s a pretty middle of the road laptop at this point. It came with a hacked up Windows XP load on it with all kinds of friendly security modifications, complements of Northrop Grummans IT group. That just had to go. So, why not give Ubuntu a try, I could always load SLES or RHEL later if I didn’t like it.

After the default install the only issues I had with the hardware were with the built in wireless and 3d acceleration on the bloody ATI graphics card. Everything else seems to be working just fine. I immediately did a full update of the system and added a ton of software via the applications-update/remove panel on the menu. Of course the modifications necessary to get proper mp3 music to work and DVD playback working were things I needed to do by hand mainly, due to, wait for it, legality issues. Just because you buy a movie doesn’t mean you can legally watch it. Don’t even get me started on that.

Once I found the forums and threads dealing with my problems it was simply a matter of following along and tweaking to get it all working great. To fix the wireless I used the ubuntu forums and found the following on the setting up the compaq w200 wireless adapter. By following the instructions there it all worked like a champ. It was surprisingly easy to follow along and make it work.

Then I had to resolve the issues with the piss poor support on ATI’s graphics adapters. The compaq evo N800c uses the ATI Radeon Mobility M7 LW (Radeon Mobility 7500) chipset, which ATI doesn’t support under linux. Thanks for nothing ATI. I tried to get the 3d acceleration working a half dozen or so times, which caused 3 different scratch reinstalls of the laptop. FYI. Once you’ve hosed your X sessions badly enough, just reinstall, it’s quicker. I finally had enough and just gave up. Then in my poking around on the forums I ran across the following discussion and a script that would “automagically” set up the proper drivers and xorg.conf configurations for a bunch of different ATI products, including the P.O.S. Radeon Mobility. Ya right, sell me something else. But what the hell, I tried it, and I will be shot! It worked perfect! I now have full 3d acceleration. I immediately followed that up with an install of Beryl. Which went pretty smoothly also.

If you haven’t heard of Beryl, well, you need to go check it out. It’s an add on to the standard desktop that adds some pretty serious eye candy. It’s still in Beta, and still has a few quirks and issues, but, wow, I’m impressed.

Only other issues I’ve had are that my 20gb Ipod wasn’t recognized in usb port 0, as soon as I plugged it into port 1, boom, there it was.

So, now that I’ve been running Ubuntu for a few days, I’m still very impressed with their distro. Their development team has done a pretty nice job. Now that I worked out some of the kinks on the laptop I did a scratch install on my home system. Hopefully the only use I will have for the Windows XP partition will be for games. Game support under linux still sucks. But what the hey. I should use XP for something, and it is a good gaming OS.


The State of California in cooperation/bed with the California Dental Association (read lobby group) is trying to pass new legislation. This time it’s trying to pass a regulation making it a requirement to have a dental appointment for your child before they are allowed in kindergarden. A link to the “requirement

 I can understand the need to have your child see the dentist by the time they are in kindergarden, but what gives them the right to make it a law that you have to? It’s already hard enough to get a kid into school here in California that it’s beyond reasonable. Letting a lobby group dictate that you MUST do such and such before your child is allowed in school is ridiculous. What ever happened to parental responsibility? Ya, there are bad parents out there. So we need to puinish everyone else?

Did you know they are also trying to pass legislation in California to make it child abuse to spank a child? How about having you reported to the California Child Welfare agency if you take your child out of school without giving them a “valid” excuse, and THEY decide what is valid. Oh, and let’s not forget that some of the districts here in California are trying (some succeeding) to charge you monetarly for taking your child out of school for any reason not on their “valid” excuse list. I’m serious, as hard as it is to believe this is true.

The Republik of California is getting out of control.

Just my two cents.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve never liked people telling me what to do, the time I spent in Alaska, or what, but I have been becoming more and more frustrated lately with the way things are being run.

No, I’m not going to start bashing Bush. I’m not one of these couch bound Monday morning quarter back wanna be’s that think they have all the answers. I know I don’t.

What I find so troubling is this. The way our government, state, local, and national, is using terrorism to perform acts, in the name of security, that nickle and dime our privacy away is scary. I work at a Navy site, there are guards at the gates. I have to wear ID badges every where I go. It’s just part of my job. On my way out to pick up the girls from school I was stopped by one of these “guards” and forced to provide, my drivers license, proof of insurance, registration, Government CAC card,  and military vehicle sticker number. Plus a cursery look in my truck. Why? It’s a “terrorism check” is what I was told. Terrorism check?? I work at a weather site in the middle of Monterey California for god’s sake!!! What the hell kind of terrorism do they expect? Oooh they might stop a weather forcast, ooooh, the danger. Better take out the other THREE forecast sights that the Navy has, plus the twenty or so NOAA sites, the Air Force sites, and the misc public forecast sites also, which means damn near every local news station in the country. Ooh the terrorism danger is SOOOO very high!
What a bunch of crap! It’s nothing but an excuse for the military MP’s to show their guns and force people to bow down. It’s bullshit.

On my wall at work I have posted a notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles of California. They sent me a nice little letter saying that they will be revoking my registration on my truck if I do not send them another copy of my insurance. Seems Geico doesn’t automatically inform them on insurance renewells. So, now that I registered my truck in the state of Californica, AND don’t get me started on the crap that took! It only costs me an extra $200 a year to drive an over sized vehicle, um, I mean a standard sized pickup for those of you who don’t live in this hell hole of an environmentally full of crap state. To add to the insult I had to provide proof of insurance at the time I registered my truck, and now they are threatening to revoke my registration if I don’t provide it again.

I know it’s just a bunch of little annoyances. But when does it stop? That’s what scares me. What are the limits? I was on a phone call to my best friend in Iraq, before he died serving this country. During the conversation I started to harass him about homeland security monitoring all overseas calls. I started to spout garbage like, anthrax, kill the president, blow up the world, radiation, nuclear weapons, etc etc… The phone line went dead. I’m not kidding. The connection went away. What’s with that?? So much for the freedom of speach.

At what point does it stop being about security and become more about power? The power of a government to suppress people? I’m sure the Germans had doubts in 1937, but let them slide, thinking, it’s only a little annoyance every now and then.

That’s my fear. When does security for the people become security over the people?

There was a very interesting comment put on this web site yesterday. Here it is. It’s a request for information on whether or not Ssgt John L. Hartman Jr. was the son of a ex-Marine former Marine named John L. Hartman that did time in Viet Nam.

John L. Hartman Sr. is a retired Marine Gunny who spent time in Viet Nam. I called John Sr. this morning and asked if he knew a Major John Lackey when he was in Viet Nam between 1968 and 1969. Turns out the Major used to be a Corporal in the Marines during Viet Nam,  he must have gone Green to Gold, and once I said the name, oof, stories started to fly. (-: I guess John Sr. and John Lackey were bunk mates during that tour, and they haven’t spoken since. 38 years it’s been.

 I sure would like to be a fly on the wall when these two get together. It’s a sad way for two old Marines to get back in touch, but, at least there are some good things coming from John’s loss. It’s really strange to think that these two spent 13 months together in Nam when John was just a year old. John was born in 1967. So, for his whole life these two didn’t have any contact, and yet, in his death he’s brought them back together. It’s like bookends of a story.

 John Lackey, if you ever read this note, let me know how you found this site. I’d be interested to find out.

Semper Fi

Note: I did a quick edit of this post right after publishing it. I wrote Semper Fi, and then thought about the history and definition of what Semper Fidelis means. It means “Always Faithful” I found this on the main Marine web page. I also read the quote “This is why there are no ex-Marines, only former Marines.” So I fixed my post appropriately.

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March 2007
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