What a beautiful day

It was a gorgeous day today with snow and wind gusts up to 45mph in Houghton. So, naturally I headed out to the break wall on the shore of Lake Superior to take some photos.

I wasn’t the only one who had this idea. Unlike them though, I didn’t want to venture out there since I had my camera.


When I got back to Houghton, I swung through Hancock and went to one of my favorite overlooks for a night photo.

Computers hate me.

I swear, computers and I do not get along.

I’ve been having some problems with my desktop recently, mainly random lock-ups with no reason for it recorded to my logs. I thought perhaps I simply had filesystem problems and I was taking care of them as they arose. This weekend though, things came to a head.

I borrowed a hard drive from Tim to do backups, slapped it in and booted a Knoppix disk to do to the copying. Things started out okay, but invariably, Knoppix would freeze during the transfer. Long story short, I’m fairly sure the onboard IDE controller is dying.

“No problem.” I think. I have a PCI IDE controller that I use for spare drives. I can throw the 2 devices that were using the onboard IDE (my boot disk and CDROM drive) onto it and things should work just fine. Unfortunately, the Ubuntu installers and Knoppix refused to boot when the CDROM was plugged into the PCI controller.

While mucking around in my BIOS, I found a couple other solutions I could try.

  • Boot from a USB disk.
  • PXE boot an installer over the network.
  • I followed Tim’s instructions on how to make a USB installer for Ubuntu tested it on a known good machine and fired it up. My computer refused to boot from it though. I wasn’t too surprised by that, when I built it, USB flash disks weren’t too prevalent and I was shocked simply to see that it claimed to support it.

    So, we switched over to the network install. I enabled that on the computer and had Tim set up the server side of things (since he network boots one of his machines already) and managed to get the installer to start. It dies shortly into its boot. Half an hour of tweaking boot options later, I simply give up.

    A new motherboard is on its way from Newegg. Sadly, this means tearing apart the computer to install it. I’ve got to do it though… I have no idea how people manage to use a laptop for their primary computer.

    LSPR and Flogging Molly

    The Lake Superior Pro Rally was held Friday and Saturday and of course I volunteered. I got to take some great shots, a bit of video and hang out with some friends who I don’t spend enough time around. Tim has cut it all together into a video, which he has put on YouTube for the time being. Once he finds a fast host, I’ll put up a link for the high quality version of the video.

    Besides a video camera, I hauled my DSLR along and got a number of shots that I think turned out pretty well:

    LSPR Stage 2 - Bob Lake - 20 October-2006-9

    LSPR Stage 2 - Bob Lake - 20 October-2006-17

    LSPR Stage 9 - Delaware - 21 October-2006-8

    LSPR Stage 9 - Delaware - 21 October-2006-7

    LSPR Stage 9 - Delaware - 21 October-2006-9

    Saturday night, pretty much everyone I knew headed up to the Wood Gym at the SDC for the Flogging Molly concert. It was incredible. Those guys put on one hell of a show! The second opener wasn’t all that exciting, and I think they were the completely wrong genre of music to be an immediate lead-in to Flogging Molly, but I was more than satisfied when I left. My legs still hurt from all the dancing I did.

    This is probably the best weekend I’ve had all semester. Unfortunately, I had to pay for my fun with a rather large amount of homework that had to be accomplished on Sunday. Hopefully I’ll be able to get even more done tonight and maybe even get a jump start on some of these papers I have due.

    A Trip to Quincy Mine

    I was talking to my friend Kim early last week and she told me that she had never been to Quincy Mine. Since she is graduating this May, were she to go, it would have to be before they closed for the winter. We made plans to go out Saturday morning at 9:30am, but due to an overly long power outage on campus, I ended up droving to the dorms after waiting half an hour to find out what had become of her.

    After waking her up, we grabbed some breakfast and headed over to Hancock to pick Kevin up. A short drive up the hill and we piled out of my car, purchased tickets and scurried to the building housing the first tour area. After listening to a talk (I could probably give it by now, I’ve heard it so many times) about the world’s largest steam hoist (below) we headed for the ride to the mine entrance.

    Quincy Mine 14 October-2006-2

    After a cog tram ride down a very steep hill, we boarded a trailer and drove into the mine. This was my third trip and I’m still impressed by the enormity of the affair. This is a mine shaft that stretches down over 10,000 and is 2 miles long on its horizontal plane. Not missing an opportunity, I quickly mounted my flash on my camera and started shooting. I imagine the following photos can tell the story better than I can.

    Quincy Mine 14 October-2006-10
    We were quite a ways in!

    Quincy Mine 14 October-2006-5
    A stope, this is an area where miners would actively seek copper ore; drilling above their heads for the mineral.

    Quincy Mine 14 October-2006-6
    Kevin and Kim, posing for a picture.

    Kevin took a picture of Kim and I.

    Quincy Mine 14 October-2006-4

    After the tour of the mine finished, we headed back up the hill in the tram and wandered around the rest of the complex.

    Quincy Mine 14 October-2006-11
    The tram, poised for its journey up the hill.

    Quincy Mine 14 October-2006-13
    Cars for the railroad that used to move ore between the mine and the stamp mills.

    Quincy Mine 14 October-2006-15
    The building on the left housed the steam hoist.

    Quincy Mine 14 October-2006-16
    This is the shaft house; rope ran from the hoist building into this one and down into the mine. Men and rock passed down this shaft, 6 times a week.

    The scale of the mining that took place in this area is incredible. While I know the impact it has had on the region intellectually, a trip to one of the local mines always brings that back to home. It’s a good thing the university didn’t close down with the last of the mines, or I doubt that the community would have survived at all.