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Facebook's Astonishing Fail

Stupid State Tricks - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 19:45

I treated myself to a new smartphone today. Among the apps I loaded was Facebook. I had copied my password from Dashlane and was ready to go, when I ran into something new:

Facebook's new security system.

To prove I am who I am, Facebook displayed a set of images, each with a set of names, and asked me to pick the person who matched the image. OK, this ought to be good.

The first was an obviously 30+ year old photo of a chubby baby. So who is it?

I'd have a hard time recognizing one of my own baby pictures, much less the folks on Facebook. Especially considering many people, such as myself, don't even use photos of themselves as their Facebook profile pictures. So, next image, please.

The next showed a cartoon strip, with a square around one of the panels. The security question then asked who the image was. I can tell you that it isn't Barbara Schmitz or Nanny Baker.

The third showed an image I did recognize: Mr. Presidential Candidate Rand Paul. Which means it wasn't Kevin Stamps or John Doppler.

The thing that saved me was when another photo of a woman looked like Sarah Barnett. Thankfully, Sarah also had a conference pass around her neck with "Sarah Barnett" printed on it. But by that time, I'd taken too long or missed too many images, or some such thing, so I had to start over.

Facebook...you've taken "being completely unaware of how people use your web site" to a level never before heard of, or seen. And then you exceeded it by using your complete lack of understanding to form the platform for your new security system.

Categories: Latest Writings

Facebook's Astonishing Fail

Burningbird's Burning World - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 19:45

I treated myself to a new smartphone today. Among the apps I loaded was Facebook. I had copied my password from Dashlane and was ready to go, when I ran into something new:

Facebook's new security system.

To prove I am who I am, Facebook displayed a set of images, each with a set of names, and asked me to pick the person who matched the image. OK, this ought to be good.

The first was an obviously 30+ year old photo of a chubby baby. So who is it?

I'd have a hard time recognizing one of my own baby pictures, much less the folks on Facebook. Especially considering many people, such as myself, don't even use photos of themselves as their Facebook profile pictures. So, next image, please.

The next showed a cartoon strip, with a square around one of the panels. The security question then asked who the image was. I can tell you that it isn't Barbara Schmitz or Nanny Baker.

The third showed an image I did recognize: Mr. Presidential Candidate Rand Paul. Which means it wasn't Kevin Stamps or John Doppler.

The thing that saved me was when another photo of a woman looked like Sarah Barnett. Thankfully, Sarah also had a conference pass around her neck with "Sarah Barnett" printed on it. But by that time, I'd taken too long or missed too many images, or some such thing, so I had to start over.

Facebook...you've taken "being completely unaware of how people use your web site" to a level never before heard of, or seen. And then you exceeded it by using your complete lack of understanding to form the platform for your new security system.

Categories: Latest Writings

Facebook's Astonishing Fail

Thank the NRA - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 19:45

I treated myself to a new smartphone today. Among the apps I loaded was Facebook. I had copied my password from Dashlane and was ready to go, when I ran into something new:

Facebook's new security system.

To prove I am who I am, Facebook displayed a set of images, each with a set of names, and asked me to pick the person who matched the image. OK, this ought to be good.

The first was an obviously 30+ year old photo of a chubby baby. So who is it?

I'd have a hard time recognizing one of my own baby pictures, much less the folks on Facebook. Especially considering many people, such as myself, don't even use photos of themselves as their Facebook profile pictures. So, next image, please.

The next showed a cartoon strip, with a square around one of the panels. The security question then asked who the image was. I can tell you that it isn't Barbara Schmitz or Nanny Baker.

The third showed an image I did recognize: Mr. Presidential Candidate Rand Paul. Which means it wasn't Kevin Stamps or John Doppler.

The thing that saved me was when another photo of a woman looked like Sarah Barnett. Thankfully, Sarah also had a conference pass around her neck with "Sarah Barnett" printed on it. But by that time, I'd taken too long or missed too many images, or some such thing, so I had to start over.

Facebook...you've taken "being completely unaware of how people use your web site" to a level never before heard of, or seen. And then you exceeded it by using your complete lack of understanding to form the platform for your new security system.

Categories: Latest Writings

Facebook's Astonishing Fail

Bad Kitty - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 19:45

I treated myself to a new smartphone today. Among the apps I loaded was Facebook. I had copied my password from Dashlane and was ready to go, when I ran into something new:

Facebook's new security system.

To prove I am who I am, Facebook displayed a set of images, each with a set of names, and asked me to pick the person who matched the image. OK, this ought to be good.

The first was an obviously 30+ year old photo of a chubby baby. So who is it?

I'd have a hard time recognizing one of my own baby pictures, much less the folks on Facebook. Especially considering many people, such as myself, don't even use photos of themselves as their Facebook profile pictures. So, next image, please.

The next showed a cartoon strip, with a square around one of the panels. The security question then asked who the image was. I can tell you that it isn't Barbara Schmitz or Nanny Baker.

The third showed an image I did recognize: Mr. Presidential Candidate Rand Paul. Which means it wasn't Kevin Stamps or John Doppler.

The thing that saved me was when another photo of a woman looked like Sarah Barnett. Thankfully, Sarah also had a conference pass around her neck with "Sarah Barnett" printed on it. But by that time, I'd taken too long or missed too many images, or some such thing, so I had to start over.

Facebook...you've taken "being completely unaware of how people use your web site" to a level never before heard of, or seen. And then you exceeded it by using your complete lack of understanding to form the platform for your new security system.

Categories: Latest Writings

Facebook's Astonishing Fail

Technology at Burningbird - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 19:45

I treated myself to a new smartphone today. Among the apps I loaded was Facebook. I had copied my password from Dashlane and was ready to go, when I ran into something new:

Facebook's new security system.

To prove I am who I am, Facebook displayed a set of images, each with a set of names, and asked me to pick the person who matched the image. OK, this ought to be good.

The first was an obviously 30+ year old photo of a chubby baby. So who is it?

I'd have a hard time recognizing one of my own baby pictures, much less the folks on Facebook. Especially considering many people, such as myself, don't even use photos of themselves as their Facebook profile pictures. So, next image, please.

The next showed a cartoon strip, with a square around one of the panels. The security question then asked who the image was. I can tell you that it isn't Barbara Schmitz or Nanny Baker.

The third showed an image I did recognize: Mr. Presidential Candidate Rand Paul. Which means it wasn't Kevin Stamps or John Doppler.

The thing that saved me was when another photo of a woman looked like Sarah Barnett. Thankfully, Sarah also had a conference pass around her neck with "Sarah Barnett" printed on it. But by that time, I'd taken too long or missed too many images, or some such thing, so I had to start over.

Facebook...you've taken "being completely unaware of how people use your web site" to a level never before heard of, or seen. And then you exceeded it by using your complete lack of understanding to form the platform for your new security system.

Categories: Latest Writings

Facebook's Astonishing Fail

Eats at Burningbird - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 19:45

I treated myself to a new smartphone today. Among the apps I loaded was Facebook. I had copied my password from Dashlane and was ready to go, when I ran into something new:

Facebook's new security system.

To prove I am who I am, Facebook displayed a set of images, each with a set of names, and asked me to pick the person who matched the image. OK, this ought to be good.

The first was an obviously 30+ year old photo of a chubby baby. So who is it?

I'd have a hard time recognizing one of my own baby pictures, much less the folks on Facebook. Especially considering many people, such as myself, don't even use photos of themselves as their Facebook profile pictures. So, next image, please.

The next showed a cartoon strip, with a square around one of the panels. The security question then asked who the image was. I can tell you that it isn't Barbara Schmitz or Nanny Baker.

The third showed an image I did recognize: Mr. Presidential Candidate Rand Paul. Which means it wasn't Kevin Stamps or John Doppler.

The thing that saved me was when another photo of a woman looked like Sarah Barnett. Thankfully, Sarah also had a conference pass around her neck with "Sarah Barnett" printed on it. But by that time, I'd taken too long or missed too many images, or some such thing, so I had to start over.

Facebook...you've taken "being completely unaware of how people use your web site" to a level never before heard of, or seen. And then you exceeded it by using your complete lack of understanding to form the platform for your new security system.

Categories: Latest Writings

Facebook's Astonishing Fail

Cages at Burningbird - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 19:45

I treated myself to a new smartphone today. Among the apps I loaded was Facebook. I had copied my password from Dashlane and was ready to go, when I ran into something new:

Facebook's new security system.

To prove I am who I am, Facebook displayed a set of images, each with a set of names, and asked me to pick the person who matched the image. OK, this ought to be good.

The first was an obviously 30+ year old photo of a chubby baby. So who is it?

I'd have a hard time recognizing one of my own baby pictures, much less the folks on Facebook. Especially considering many people, such as myself, don't even use photos of themselves as their Facebook profile pictures. So, next image, please.

The next showed a cartoon strip, with a square around one of the panels. The security question then asked who the image was. I can tell you that it isn't Barbara Schmitz or Nanny Baker.

The third showed an image I did recognize: Mr. Presidential Candidate Rand Paul. Which means it wasn't Kevin Stamps or John Doppler.

The thing that saved me was when another photo of a woman looked like Sarah Barnett. Thankfully, Sarah also had a conference pass around her neck with "Sarah Barnett" printed on it. But by that time, I'd taken too long or missed too many images, or some such thing, so I had to start over.

Facebook...you've taken "being completely unaware of how people use your web site" to a level never before heard of, or seen. And then you exceeded it by using your complete lack of understanding to form the platform for your new security system.

Categories: Latest Writings

30 Years Ago: Mount St. Helens

Stupid State Tricks - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 15:15

Published five years ago...

Thirty years ago I was living at my Dad's in Yakima, going to college. That Sunday was a beautiful day, and Dad was outside in the garden as I was getting ready to go to work. I worked for a photographer, who had a studio in the Yakima Mall. I liked working Sundays. Sundays were always quiet, especially when the weather was nice.

I heard a loud boom, but didn't think much of it. Yakima was right next to a military training center, and it wasn't too unusual to have a hot dog pilot break the sound barrier. Some minutes later, my Dad yelled for me to come outside. I ran out and saw this ugly dark brown/black cloud rolling towards the town. We knew that Mount St. Helen's had erupted.

We ran inside and quickly shut everything up, as fast as we could. My boss called to jokingly tell me that I didn't have to go into work. Little did we both know that the Mall didn't shut down the air intake system quickly enough, and when we were able to get into the studio three days later, all of my employer's cameras would be ruined.

The day suddenly begin to turn into night. The ash started falling all around us. It was quiet, except for the ash, which made a slight hissing sound when it fell—like a snake who is only going through the motions. We turned the TV on, finding it interesting to see our quiet little town being the top story for most of the major networks. The President flew by. We waved.

My cat was still outside. Well, I say "my" cat, but Bonzo was really Dad's cat—a case of love at first sight between those two. I thought he would come back when he saw the cloud, but evidently, the ash must have panicked him. I told my Dad I had to go find him. Dad was torn between wanting to keep me inside, and being worried about Bonzo. Go find him, Baby Doll, he said, But don't stay out too long.

Yes, he called me Baby Doll. Dad's been dead a few years now—I don't mind telling you he used to call me Baby Doll.

I put on a plastic rain coat I bought on a lark, once, and never wore. It ended up being a perfect cover for the ash fall. I wet a handkerchief to wrap around my nose and mouth, though it didn't work as well as I hoped.

Walking through the streets, looking for my cat, was like walking on the moon. The ash was very fine, but so persistent. It covered everything, though it slithered off the plastic of my coat. After about half an hour, I couldn't handle the ash anymore and came home— hoping Bonzo would be smart enough to find cover.

During the day, the ash cloud would sometimes thin out, leading us to hope the worst was over. Then the ash would thicken, the day darken again. I must admit to being more than a little worried about how long the ash would fall. Would we be evacuated if it fell for days?

Were we in danger?

Towards evening, we heard a faint meow at the back door. I opened it, and there on the step was a mound of ash with two brilliantly blue, and really pissed off eyes. Bonzo had made it home.

The ash fell throughout the day and into the evening. The darkness was oppressive, the acrid smell overwhelming at times. Sometime during the night, though, it finally stopped. When we woke the next day, we woke to another world. Ash covered everything.

I used to smoke in those days. I had run out of cigarettes, and we also needed milk and some other odds and ends. We couldn't drive because of the ash, but there was a neighborhood store a couple of blocks away. I knew the store would be open—you'd have to bury that store under lava for it not to open—so I again donned my plastic coat and set off.

If the walk during the ash fall was unnerving, the walk the next day was surreal. You could see tracks of animals, including that of a bee that had become so weighted down, all it could do was squiggle along the sidewalk. Bird tracks, cat tracks, other small critters—no people though.

People were out and about, primarily shoveling ash off roofs, because the weight was enough to cause some real concerns. Others, seemingly indifferent to the effects of mixing ash and engine, were out driving, and their cars would send up clouds of acrid dust. Some of our more enterprising neighbors built a speed bump of ash mixed with water, which worked pretty good, until the street crews knocked it down.

For the next three months we cleaned up ash. In the beginning we wore a lot of masks, and some folks took off for ashless climes. Silly, really, because bad stuff happens everywhere. If you're going to leave a place, you leave it before the bad stuff happens. Otherwise, you're just moving from bad stuff to bad stuff, like a ball in a pinball machine.

My Dad used some of the ash from around our place to mix into cement for a new sidewalk. Other people created souvenir statues from the ash. I bought a t-shirt that said something about the mountain and Yakima, but I can't remember the words now. Probably something that seemed clever then, but would be stupid, now.

A day by day account at the Yakima Herald Republic.

St. Louis Today photo gallery.

Categories: Latest Writings

30 Years Ago: Mount St. Helens

Burningbird's Burning World - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 15:15

Published five years ago...

Thirty years ago I was living at my Dad's in Yakima, going to college. That Sunday was a beautiful day, and Dad was outside in the garden as I was getting ready to go to work. I worked for a photographer, who had a studio in the Yakima Mall. I liked working Sundays. Sundays were always quiet, especially when the weather was nice.

I heard a loud boom, but didn't think much of it. Yakima was right next to a military training center, and it wasn't too unusual to have a hot dog pilot break the sound barrier. Some minutes later, my Dad yelled for me to come outside. I ran out and saw this ugly dark brown/black cloud rolling towards the town. We knew that Mount St. Helen's had erupted.

We ran inside and quickly shut everything up, as fast as we could. My boss called to jokingly tell me that I didn't have to go into work. Little did we both know that the Mall didn't shut down the air intake system quickly enough, and when we were able to get into the studio three days later, all of my employer's cameras would be ruined.

The day suddenly begin to turn into night. The ash started falling all around us. It was quiet, except for the ash, which made a slight hissing sound when it fell—like a snake who is only going through the motions. We turned the TV on, finding it interesting to see our quiet little town being the top story for most of the major networks. The President flew by. We waved.

My cat was still outside. Well, I say "my" cat, but Bonzo was really Dad's cat—a case of love at first sight between those two. I thought he would come back when he saw the cloud, but evidently, the ash must have panicked him. I told my Dad I had to go find him. Dad was torn between wanting to keep me inside, and being worried about Bonzo. Go find him, Baby Doll, he said, But don't stay out too long.

Yes, he called me Baby Doll. Dad's been dead a few years now—I don't mind telling you he used to call me Baby Doll.

I put on a plastic rain coat I bought on a lark, once, and never wore. It ended up being a perfect cover for the ash fall. I wet a handkerchief to wrap around my nose and mouth, though it didn't work as well as I hoped.

Walking through the streets, looking for my cat, was like walking on the moon. The ash was very fine, but so persistent. It covered everything, though it slithered off the plastic of my coat. After about half an hour, I couldn't handle the ash anymore and came home— hoping Bonzo would be smart enough to find cover.

During the day, the ash cloud would sometimes thin out, leading us to hope the worst was over. Then the ash would thicken, the day darken again. I must admit to being more than a little worried about how long the ash would fall. Would we be evacuated if it fell for days?

Were we in danger?

Towards evening, we heard a faint meow at the back door. I opened it, and there on the step was a mound of ash with two brilliantly blue, and really pissed off eyes. Bonzo had made it home.

The ash fell throughout the day and into the evening. The darkness was oppressive, the acrid smell overwhelming at times. Sometime during the night, though, it finally stopped. When we woke the next day, we woke to another world. Ash covered everything.

I used to smoke in those days. I had run out of cigarettes, and we also needed milk and some other odds and ends. We couldn't drive because of the ash, but there was a neighborhood store a couple of blocks away. I knew the store would be open—you'd have to bury that store under lava for it not to open—so I again donned my plastic coat and set off.

If the walk during the ash fall was unnerving, the walk the next day was surreal. You could see tracks of animals, including that of a bee that had become so weighted down, all it could do was squiggle along the sidewalk. Bird tracks, cat tracks, other small critters—no people though.

People were out and about, primarily shoveling ash off roofs, because the weight was enough to cause some real concerns. Others, seemingly indifferent to the effects of mixing ash and engine, were out driving, and their cars would send up clouds of acrid dust. Some of our more enterprising neighbors built a speed bump of ash mixed with water, which worked pretty good, until the street crews knocked it down.

For the next three months we cleaned up ash. In the beginning we wore a lot of masks, and some folks took off for ashless climes. Silly, really, because bad stuff happens everywhere. If you're going to leave a place, you leave it before the bad stuff happens. Otherwise, you're just moving from bad stuff to bad stuff, like a ball in a pinball machine.

My Dad used some of the ash from around our place to mix into cement for a new sidewalk. Other people created souvenir statues from the ash. I bought a t-shirt that said something about the mountain and Yakima, but I can't remember the words now. Probably something that seemed clever then, but would be stupid, now.

A day by day account at the Yakima Herald Republic.

St. Louis Today photo gallery.

Categories: Latest Writings

30 Years Ago: Mount St. Helens

Thank the NRA - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 15:15

Published five years ago...

Thirty years ago I was living at my Dad's in Yakima, going to college. That Sunday was a beautiful day, and Dad was outside in the garden as I was getting ready to go to work. I worked for a photographer, who had a studio in the Yakima Mall. I liked working Sundays. Sundays were always quiet, especially when the weather was nice.

I heard a loud boom, but didn't think much of it. Yakima was right next to a military training center, and it wasn't too unusual to have a hot dog pilot break the sound barrier. Some minutes later, my Dad yelled for me to come outside. I ran out and saw this ugly dark brown/black cloud rolling towards the town. We knew that Mount St. Helen's had erupted.

We ran inside and quickly shut everything up, as fast as we could. My boss called to jokingly tell me that I didn't have to go into work. Little did we both know that the Mall didn't shut down the air intake system quickly enough, and when we were able to get into the studio three days later, all of my employer's cameras would be ruined.

The day suddenly begin to turn into night. The ash started falling all around us. It was quiet, except for the ash, which made a slight hissing sound when it fell—like a snake who is only going through the motions. We turned the TV on, finding it interesting to see our quiet little town being the top story for most of the major networks. The President flew by. We waved.

My cat was still outside. Well, I say "my" cat, but Bonzo was really Dad's cat—a case of love at first sight between those two. I thought he would come back when he saw the cloud, but evidently, the ash must have panicked him. I told my Dad I had to go find him. Dad was torn between wanting to keep me inside, and being worried about Bonzo. Go find him, Baby Doll, he said, But don't stay out too long.

Yes, he called me Baby Doll. Dad's been dead a few years now—I don't mind telling you he used to call me Baby Doll.

I put on a plastic rain coat I bought on a lark, once, and never wore. It ended up being a perfect cover for the ash fall. I wet a handkerchief to wrap around my nose and mouth, though it didn't work as well as I hoped.

Walking through the streets, looking for my cat, was like walking on the moon. The ash was very fine, but so persistent. It covered everything, though it slithered off the plastic of my coat. After about half an hour, I couldn't handle the ash anymore and came home— hoping Bonzo would be smart enough to find cover.

During the day, the ash cloud would sometimes thin out, leading us to hope the worst was over. Then the ash would thicken, the day darken again. I must admit to being more than a little worried about how long the ash would fall. Would we be evacuated if it fell for days?

Were we in danger?

Towards evening, we heard a faint meow at the back door. I opened it, and there on the step was a mound of ash with two brilliantly blue, and really pissed off eyes. Bonzo had made it home.

The ash fell throughout the day and into the evening. The darkness was oppressive, the acrid smell overwhelming at times. Sometime during the night, though, it finally stopped. When we woke the next day, we woke to another world. Ash covered everything.

I used to smoke in those days. I had run out of cigarettes, and we also needed milk and some other odds and ends. We couldn't drive because of the ash, but there was a neighborhood store a couple of blocks away. I knew the store would be open—you'd have to bury that store under lava for it not to open—so I again donned my plastic coat and set off.

If the walk during the ash fall was unnerving, the walk the next day was surreal. You could see tracks of animals, including that of a bee that had become so weighted down, all it could do was squiggle along the sidewalk. Bird tracks, cat tracks, other small critters—no people though.

People were out and about, primarily shoveling ash off roofs, because the weight was enough to cause some real concerns. Others, seemingly indifferent to the effects of mixing ash and engine, were out driving, and their cars would send up clouds of acrid dust. Some of our more enterprising neighbors built a speed bump of ash mixed with water, which worked pretty good, until the street crews knocked it down.

For the next three months we cleaned up ash. In the beginning we wore a lot of masks, and some folks took off for ashless climes. Silly, really, because bad stuff happens everywhere. If you're going to leave a place, you leave it before the bad stuff happens. Otherwise, you're just moving from bad stuff to bad stuff, like a ball in a pinball machine.

My Dad used some of the ash from around our place to mix into cement for a new sidewalk. Other people created souvenir statues from the ash. I bought a t-shirt that said something about the mountain and Yakima, but I can't remember the words now. Probably something that seemed clever then, but would be stupid, now.

A day by day account at the Yakima Herald Republic.

St. Louis Today photo gallery.

Categories: Latest Writings

30 Years Ago: Mount St. Helens

Bad Kitty - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 15:15

Published five years ago...

Thirty years ago I was living at my Dad's in Yakima, going to college. That Sunday was a beautiful day, and Dad was outside in the garden as I was getting ready to go to work. I worked for a photographer, who had a studio in the Yakima Mall. I liked working Sundays. Sundays were always quiet, especially when the weather was nice.

I heard a loud boom, but didn't think much of it. Yakima was right next to a military training center, and it wasn't too unusual to have a hot dog pilot break the sound barrier. Some minutes later, my Dad yelled for me to come outside. I ran out and saw this ugly dark brown/black cloud rolling towards the town. We knew that Mount St. Helen's had erupted.

We ran inside and quickly shut everything up, as fast as we could. My boss called to jokingly tell me that I didn't have to go into work. Little did we both know that the Mall didn't shut down the air intake system quickly enough, and when we were able to get into the studio three days later, all of my employer's cameras would be ruined.

The day suddenly begin to turn into night. The ash started falling all around us. It was quiet, except for the ash, which made a slight hissing sound when it fell—like a snake who is only going through the motions. We turned the TV on, finding it interesting to see our quiet little town being the top story for most of the major networks. The President flew by. We waved.

My cat was still outside. Well, I say "my" cat, but Bonzo was really Dad's cat—a case of love at first sight between those two. I thought he would come back when he saw the cloud, but evidently, the ash must have panicked him. I told my Dad I had to go find him. Dad was torn between wanting to keep me inside, and being worried about Bonzo. Go find him, Baby Doll, he said, But don't stay out too long.

Yes, he called me Baby Doll. Dad's been dead a few years now—I don't mind telling you he used to call me Baby Doll.

I put on a plastic rain coat I bought on a lark, once, and never wore. It ended up being a perfect cover for the ash fall. I wet a handkerchief to wrap around my nose and mouth, though it didn't work as well as I hoped.

Walking through the streets, looking for my cat, was like walking on the moon. The ash was very fine, but so persistent. It covered everything, though it slithered off the plastic of my coat. After about half an hour, I couldn't handle the ash anymore and came home— hoping Bonzo would be smart enough to find cover.

During the day, the ash cloud would sometimes thin out, leading us to hope the worst was over. Then the ash would thicken, the day darken again. I must admit to being more than a little worried about how long the ash would fall. Would we be evacuated if it fell for days?

Were we in danger?

Towards evening, we heard a faint meow at the back door. I opened it, and there on the step was a mound of ash with two brilliantly blue, and really pissed off eyes. Bonzo had made it home.

The ash fell throughout the day and into the evening. The darkness was oppressive, the acrid smell overwhelming at times. Sometime during the night, though, it finally stopped. When we woke the next day, we woke to another world. Ash covered everything.

I used to smoke in those days. I had run out of cigarettes, and we also needed milk and some other odds and ends. We couldn't drive because of the ash, but there was a neighborhood store a couple of blocks away. I knew the store would be open—you'd have to bury that store under lava for it not to open—so I again donned my plastic coat and set off.

If the walk during the ash fall was unnerving, the walk the next day was surreal. You could see tracks of animals, including that of a bee that had become so weighted down, all it could do was squiggle along the sidewalk. Bird tracks, cat tracks, other small critters—no people though.

People were out and about, primarily shoveling ash off roofs, because the weight was enough to cause some real concerns. Others, seemingly indifferent to the effects of mixing ash and engine, were out driving, and their cars would send up clouds of acrid dust. Some of our more enterprising neighbors built a speed bump of ash mixed with water, which worked pretty good, until the street crews knocked it down.

For the next three months we cleaned up ash. In the beginning we wore a lot of masks, and some folks took off for ashless climes. Silly, really, because bad stuff happens everywhere. If you're going to leave a place, you leave it before the bad stuff happens. Otherwise, you're just moving from bad stuff to bad stuff, like a ball in a pinball machine.

My Dad used some of the ash from around our place to mix into cement for a new sidewalk. Other people created souvenir statues from the ash. I bought a t-shirt that said something about the mountain and Yakima, but I can't remember the words now. Probably something that seemed clever then, but would be stupid, now.

A day by day account at the Yakima Herald Republic.

St. Louis Today photo gallery.

Categories: Latest Writings

30 Years Ago: Mount St. Helens

Technology at Burningbird - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 15:15

Published five years ago...

Thirty years ago I was living at my Dad's in Yakima, going to college. That Sunday was a beautiful day, and Dad was outside in the garden as I was getting ready to go to work. I worked for a photographer, who had a studio in the Yakima Mall. I liked working Sundays. Sundays were always quiet, especially when the weather was nice.

I heard a loud boom, but didn't think much of it. Yakima was right next to a military training center, and it wasn't too unusual to have a hot dog pilot break the sound barrier. Some minutes later, my Dad yelled for me to come outside. I ran out and saw this ugly dark brown/black cloud rolling towards the town. We knew that Mount St. Helen's had erupted.

We ran inside and quickly shut everything up, as fast as we could. My boss called to jokingly tell me that I didn't have to go into work. Little did we both know that the Mall didn't shut down the air intake system quickly enough, and when we were able to get into the studio three days later, all of my employer's cameras would be ruined.

The day suddenly begin to turn into night. The ash started falling all around us. It was quiet, except for the ash, which made a slight hissing sound when it fell—like a snake who is only going through the motions. We turned the TV on, finding it interesting to see our quiet little town being the top story for most of the major networks. The President flew by. We waved.

My cat was still outside. Well, I say "my" cat, but Bonzo was really Dad's cat—a case of love at first sight between those two. I thought he would come back when he saw the cloud, but evidently, the ash must have panicked him. I told my Dad I had to go find him. Dad was torn between wanting to keep me inside, and being worried about Bonzo. Go find him, Baby Doll, he said, But don't stay out too long.

Yes, he called me Baby Doll. Dad's been dead a few years now—I don't mind telling you he used to call me Baby Doll.

I put on a plastic rain coat I bought on a lark, once, and never wore. It ended up being a perfect cover for the ash fall. I wet a handkerchief to wrap around my nose and mouth, though it didn't work as well as I hoped.

Walking through the streets, looking for my cat, was like walking on the moon. The ash was very fine, but so persistent. It covered everything, though it slithered off the plastic of my coat. After about half an hour, I couldn't handle the ash anymore and came home— hoping Bonzo would be smart enough to find cover.

During the day, the ash cloud would sometimes thin out, leading us to hope the worst was over. Then the ash would thicken, the day darken again. I must admit to being more than a little worried about how long the ash would fall. Would we be evacuated if it fell for days?

Were we in danger?

Towards evening, we heard a faint meow at the back door. I opened it, and there on the step was a mound of ash with two brilliantly blue, and really pissed off eyes. Bonzo had made it home.

The ash fell throughout the day and into the evening. The darkness was oppressive, the acrid smell overwhelming at times. Sometime during the night, though, it finally stopped. When we woke the next day, we woke to another world. Ash covered everything.

I used to smoke in those days. I had run out of cigarettes, and we also needed milk and some other odds and ends. We couldn't drive because of the ash, but there was a neighborhood store a couple of blocks away. I knew the store would be open—you'd have to bury that store under lava for it not to open—so I again donned my plastic coat and set off.

If the walk during the ash fall was unnerving, the walk the next day was surreal. You could see tracks of animals, including that of a bee that had become so weighted down, all it could do was squiggle along the sidewalk. Bird tracks, cat tracks, other small critters—no people though.

People were out and about, primarily shoveling ash off roofs, because the weight was enough to cause some real concerns. Others, seemingly indifferent to the effects of mixing ash and engine, were out driving, and their cars would send up clouds of acrid dust. Some of our more enterprising neighbors built a speed bump of ash mixed with water, which worked pretty good, until the street crews knocked it down.

For the next three months we cleaned up ash. In the beginning we wore a lot of masks, and some folks took off for ashless climes. Silly, really, because bad stuff happens everywhere. If you're going to leave a place, you leave it before the bad stuff happens. Otherwise, you're just moving from bad stuff to bad stuff, like a ball in a pinball machine.

My Dad used some of the ash from around our place to mix into cement for a new sidewalk. Other people created souvenir statues from the ash. I bought a t-shirt that said something about the mountain and Yakima, but I can't remember the words now. Probably something that seemed clever then, but would be stupid, now.

A day by day account at the Yakima Herald Republic.

St. Louis Today photo gallery.

Categories: Latest Writings

30 Years Ago: Mount St. Helens

Eats at Burningbird - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 15:15

Published five years ago...

Thirty years ago I was living at my Dad's in Yakima, going to college. That Sunday was a beautiful day, and Dad was outside in the garden as I was getting ready to go to work. I worked for a photographer, who had a studio in the Yakima Mall. I liked working Sundays. Sundays were always quiet, especially when the weather was nice.

I heard a loud boom, but didn't think much of it. Yakima was right next to a military training center, and it wasn't too unusual to have a hot dog pilot break the sound barrier. Some minutes later, my Dad yelled for me to come outside. I ran out and saw this ugly dark brown/black cloud rolling towards the town. We knew that Mount St. Helen's had erupted.

We ran inside and quickly shut everything up, as fast as we could. My boss called to jokingly tell me that I didn't have to go into work. Little did we both know that the Mall didn't shut down the air intake system quickly enough, and when we were able to get into the studio three days later, all of my employer's cameras would be ruined.

The day suddenly begin to turn into night. The ash started falling all around us. It was quiet, except for the ash, which made a slight hissing sound when it fell—like a snake who is only going through the motions. We turned the TV on, finding it interesting to see our quiet little town being the top story for most of the major networks. The President flew by. We waved.

My cat was still outside. Well, I say "my" cat, but Bonzo was really Dad's cat—a case of love at first sight between those two. I thought he would come back when he saw the cloud, but evidently, the ash must have panicked him. I told my Dad I had to go find him. Dad was torn between wanting to keep me inside, and being worried about Bonzo. Go find him, Baby Doll, he said, But don't stay out too long.

Yes, he called me Baby Doll. Dad's been dead a few years now—I don't mind telling you he used to call me Baby Doll.

I put on a plastic rain coat I bought on a lark, once, and never wore. It ended up being a perfect cover for the ash fall. I wet a handkerchief to wrap around my nose and mouth, though it didn't work as well as I hoped.

Walking through the streets, looking for my cat, was like walking on the moon. The ash was very fine, but so persistent. It covered everything, though it slithered off the plastic of my coat. After about half an hour, I couldn't handle the ash anymore and came home— hoping Bonzo would be smart enough to find cover.

During the day, the ash cloud would sometimes thin out, leading us to hope the worst was over. Then the ash would thicken, the day darken again. I must admit to being more than a little worried about how long the ash would fall. Would we be evacuated if it fell for days?

Were we in danger?

Towards evening, we heard a faint meow at the back door. I opened it, and there on the step was a mound of ash with two brilliantly blue, and really pissed off eyes. Bonzo had made it home.

The ash fell throughout the day and into the evening. The darkness was oppressive, the acrid smell overwhelming at times. Sometime during the night, though, it finally stopped. When we woke the next day, we woke to another world. Ash covered everything.

I used to smoke in those days. I had run out of cigarettes, and we also needed milk and some other odds and ends. We couldn't drive because of the ash, but there was a neighborhood store a couple of blocks away. I knew the store would be open—you'd have to bury that store under lava for it not to open—so I again donned my plastic coat and set off.

If the walk during the ash fall was unnerving, the walk the next day was surreal. You could see tracks of animals, including that of a bee that had become so weighted down, all it could do was squiggle along the sidewalk. Bird tracks, cat tracks, other small critters—no people though.

People were out and about, primarily shoveling ash off roofs, because the weight was enough to cause some real concerns. Others, seemingly indifferent to the effects of mixing ash and engine, were out driving, and their cars would send up clouds of acrid dust. Some of our more enterprising neighbors built a speed bump of ash mixed with water, which worked pretty good, until the street crews knocked it down.

For the next three months we cleaned up ash. In the beginning we wore a lot of masks, and some folks took off for ashless climes. Silly, really, because bad stuff happens everywhere. If you're going to leave a place, you leave it before the bad stuff happens. Otherwise, you're just moving from bad stuff to bad stuff, like a ball in a pinball machine.

My Dad used some of the ash from around our place to mix into cement for a new sidewalk. Other people created souvenir statues from the ash. I bought a t-shirt that said something about the mountain and Yakima, but I can't remember the words now. Probably something that seemed clever then, but would be stupid, now.

A day by day account at the Yakima Herald Republic.

St. Louis Today photo gallery.

Categories: Latest Writings

30 Years Ago: Mount St. Helens

Cages at Burningbird - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 15:15

Published five years ago...

Thirty years ago I was living at my Dad's in Yakima, going to college. That Sunday was a beautiful day, and Dad was outside in the garden as I was getting ready to go to work. I worked for a photographer, who had a studio in the Yakima Mall. I liked working Sundays. Sundays were always quiet, especially when the weather was nice.

I heard a loud boom, but didn't think much of it. Yakima was right next to a military training center, and it wasn't too unusual to have a hot dog pilot break the sound barrier. Some minutes later, my Dad yelled for me to come outside. I ran out and saw this ugly dark brown/black cloud rolling towards the town. We knew that Mount St. Helen's had erupted.

We ran inside and quickly shut everything up, as fast as we could. My boss called to jokingly tell me that I didn't have to go into work. Little did we both know that the Mall didn't shut down the air intake system quickly enough, and when we were able to get into the studio three days later, all of my employer's cameras would be ruined.

The day suddenly begin to turn into night. The ash started falling all around us. It was quiet, except for the ash, which made a slight hissing sound when it fell—like a snake who is only going through the motions. We turned the TV on, finding it interesting to see our quiet little town being the top story for most of the major networks. The President flew by. We waved.

My cat was still outside. Well, I say "my" cat, but Bonzo was really Dad's cat—a case of love at first sight between those two. I thought he would come back when he saw the cloud, but evidently, the ash must have panicked him. I told my Dad I had to go find him. Dad was torn between wanting to keep me inside, and being worried about Bonzo. Go find him, Baby Doll, he said, But don't stay out too long.

Yes, he called me Baby Doll. Dad's been dead a few years now—I don't mind telling you he used to call me Baby Doll.

I put on a plastic rain coat I bought on a lark, once, and never wore. It ended up being a perfect cover for the ash fall. I wet a handkerchief to wrap around my nose and mouth, though it didn't work as well as I hoped.

Walking through the streets, looking for my cat, was like walking on the moon. The ash was very fine, but so persistent. It covered everything, though it slithered off the plastic of my coat. After about half an hour, I couldn't handle the ash anymore and came home— hoping Bonzo would be smart enough to find cover.

During the day, the ash cloud would sometimes thin out, leading us to hope the worst was over. Then the ash would thicken, the day darken again. I must admit to being more than a little worried about how long the ash would fall. Would we be evacuated if it fell for days?

Were we in danger?

Towards evening, we heard a faint meow at the back door. I opened it, and there on the step was a mound of ash with two brilliantly blue, and really pissed off eyes. Bonzo had made it home.

The ash fell throughout the day and into the evening. The darkness was oppressive, the acrid smell overwhelming at times. Sometime during the night, though, it finally stopped. When we woke the next day, we woke to another world. Ash covered everything.

I used to smoke in those days. I had run out of cigarettes, and we also needed milk and some other odds and ends. We couldn't drive because of the ash, but there was a neighborhood store a couple of blocks away. I knew the store would be open—you'd have to bury that store under lava for it not to open—so I again donned my plastic coat and set off.

If the walk during the ash fall was unnerving, the walk the next day was surreal. You could see tracks of animals, including that of a bee that had become so weighted down, all it could do was squiggle along the sidewalk. Bird tracks, cat tracks, other small critters—no people though.

People were out and about, primarily shoveling ash off roofs, because the weight was enough to cause some real concerns. Others, seemingly indifferent to the effects of mixing ash and engine, were out driving, and their cars would send up clouds of acrid dust. Some of our more enterprising neighbors built a speed bump of ash mixed with water, which worked pretty good, until the street crews knocked it down.

For the next three months we cleaned up ash. In the beginning we wore a lot of masks, and some folks took off for ashless climes. Silly, really, because bad stuff happens everywhere. If you're going to leave a place, you leave it before the bad stuff happens. Otherwise, you're just moving from bad stuff to bad stuff, like a ball in a pinball machine.

My Dad used some of the ash from around our place to mix into cement for a new sidewalk. Other people created souvenir statues from the ash. I bought a t-shirt that said something about the mountain and Yakima, but I can't remember the words now. Probably something that seemed clever then, but would be stupid, now.

A day by day account at the Yakima Herald Republic.

St. Louis Today photo gallery.

Categories: Latest Writings

JavaScript Cookbook 2nd Edition: Live and Personal

Stupid State Tricks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 11:24

The second edition of the JavaScript Cookbook just went live at O'Reilly. If you're wondering why I haven't been writing about technology as much lately, it's because I was saving all my tech writing mojo for the book.

We went a somewhat different path with the second edition. I spent a lot less time on syntax, and a lot more on JavaScript in use. When I wrote my first book on JavaScript, in the dark ages that was the mid-1990s, syntax was about all you had with JavaScript. Now, JavaScript is everywhere. It's the programming language that ate the world.

Well, nibbled the world. JavaScript is still that friendly, approachable language, even with the new ECMAScript additions. JavaScript has never roared; it's meowed and purred its way into our lives. Good kitty. Nice kitty. Here, have a closure.

In the new edition of JavaScript Cookbook, I covered JavaScript in the browser, and re-visited our old friends (Ajax and the JS objects), yes. But I also spent a considerable time covering JavaScript in the server, in the cloud, and in our mobile devices. The only environment I didn't cover is the open source hardware, DIY, wearable world, and that's because I feel these need more preliminary introductions to the environment, so you don't do something like fry your new Raspberry Pi. Or Computer. Or shirt.

I will never join with those who are critical of JavaScript. I have always had fun with this language. There's just so much you can do with it.

Categories: Latest Writings

JavaScript Cookbook 2nd Edition: Live and Personal

Burningbird's Burning World - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 11:24

The second edition of the JavaScript Cookbook just went live at O'Reilly. If you're wondering why I haven't been writing about technology as much lately, it's because I was saving all my tech writing mojo for the book.

We went a somewhat different path with the second edition. I spent a lot less time on syntax, and a lot more on JavaScript in use. When I wrote my first book on JavaScript, in the dark ages that was the mid-1990s, syntax was about all you had with JavaScript. Now, JavaScript is everywhere. It's the programming language that ate the world.

Well, nibbled the world. JavaScript is still that friendly, approachable language, even with the new ECMAScript additions. JavaScript has never roared; it's meowed and purred its way into our lives. Good kitty. Nice kitty. Here, have a closure.

In the new edition of JavaScript Cookbook, I covered JavaScript in the browser, and re-visited our old friends (Ajax and the JS objects), yes. But I also spent a considerable time covering JavaScript in the server, in the cloud, and in our mobile devices. The only environment I didn't cover is the open source hardware, DIY, wearable world, and that's because I feel these need more preliminary introductions to the environment, so you don't do something like fry your new Raspberry Pi. Or Computer. Or shirt.

I will never join with those who are critical of JavaScript. I have always had fun with this language. There's just so much you can do with it.

Categories: Latest Writings

JavaScript Cookbook 2nd Edition: Live and Personal

Thank the NRA - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 11:24

The second edition of the JavaScript Cookbook just went live at O'Reilly. If you're wondering why I haven't been writing about technology as much lately, it's because I was saving all my tech writing mojo for the book.

We went a somewhat different path with the second edition. I spent a lot less time on syntax, and a lot more on JavaScript in use. When I wrote my first book on JavaScript, in the dark ages that was the mid-1990s, syntax was about all you had with JavaScript. Now, JavaScript is everywhere. It's the programming language that ate the world.

Well, nibbled the world. JavaScript is still that friendly, approachable language, even with the new ECMAScript additions. JavaScript has never roared; it's meowed and purred its way into our lives. Good kitty. Nice kitty. Here, have a closure.

In the new edition of JavaScript Cookbook, I covered JavaScript in the browser, and re-visited our old friends (Ajax and the JS objects), yes. But I also spent a considerable time covering JavaScript in the server, in the cloud, and in our mobile devices. The only environment I didn't cover is the open source hardware, DIY, wearable world, and that's because I feel these need more preliminary introductions to the environment, so you don't do something like fry your new Raspberry Pi. Or Computer. Or shirt.

I will never join with those who are critical of JavaScript. I have always had fun with this language. There's just so much you can do with it.

Categories: Latest Writings

JavaScript Cookbook 2nd Edition: Live and Personal

Bad Kitty - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 11:24

The second edition of the JavaScript Cookbook just went live at O'Reilly. If you're wondering why I haven't been writing about technology as much lately, it's because I was saving all my tech writing mojo for the book.

We went a somewhat different path with the second edition. I spent a lot less time on syntax, and a lot more on JavaScript in use. When I wrote my first book on JavaScript, in the dark ages that was the mid-1990s, syntax was about all you had with JavaScript. Now, JavaScript is everywhere. It's the programming language that ate the world.

Well, nibbled the world. JavaScript is still that friendly, approachable language, even with the new ECMAScript additions. JavaScript has never roared; it's meowed and purred its way into our lives. Good kitty. Nice kitty. Here, have a closure.

In the new edition of JavaScript Cookbook, I covered JavaScript in the browser, and re-visited our old friends (Ajax and the JS objects), yes. But I also spent a considerable time covering JavaScript in the server, in the cloud, and in our mobile devices. The only environment I didn't cover is the open source hardware, DIY, wearable world, and that's because I feel these need more preliminary introductions to the environment, so you don't do something like fry your new Raspberry Pi. Or Computer. Or shirt.

I will never join with those who are critical of JavaScript. I have always had fun with this language. There's just so much you can do with it.

Categories: Latest Writings

JavaScript Cookbook 2nd Edition: Live and Personal

Technology at Burningbird - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 11:24

The second edition of the JavaScript Cookbook just went live at O'Reilly. If you're wondering why I haven't been writing about technology as much lately, it's because I was saving all my tech writing mojo for the book.

We went a somewhat different path with the second edition. I spent a lot less time on syntax, and a lot more on JavaScript in use. When I wrote my first book on JavaScript, in the dark ages that was the mid-1990s, syntax was about all you had with JavaScript. Now, JavaScript is everywhere. It's the programming language that ate the world.

Well, nibbled the world. JavaScript is still that friendly, approachable language, even with the new ECMAScript additions. JavaScript has never roared; it's meowed and purred its way into our lives. Good kitty. Nice kitty. Here, have a closure.

In the new edition of JavaScript Cookbook, I covered JavaScript in the browser, and re-visited our old friends (Ajax and the JS objects), yes. But I also spent a considerable time covering JavaScript in the server, in the cloud, and in our mobile devices. The only environment I didn't cover is the open source hardware, DIY, wearable world, and that's because I feel these need more preliminary introductions to the environment, so you don't do something like fry your new Raspberry Pi. Or Computer. Or shirt.

I will never join with those who are critical of JavaScript. I have always had fun with this language. There's just so much you can do with it.

Categories: Latest Writings

JavaScript Cookbook 2nd Edition: Live and Personal

Eats at Burningbird - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 11:24

The second edition of the JavaScript Cookbook just went live at O'Reilly. If you're wondering why I haven't been writing about technology as much lately, it's because I was saving all my tech writing mojo for the book.

We went a somewhat different path with the second edition. I spent a lot less time on syntax, and a lot more on JavaScript in use. When I wrote my first book on JavaScript, in the dark ages that was the mid-1990s, syntax was about all you had with JavaScript. Now, JavaScript is everywhere. It's the programming language that ate the world.

Well, nibbled the world. JavaScript is still that friendly, approachable language, even with the new ECMAScript additions. JavaScript has never roared; it's meowed and purred its way into our lives. Good kitty. Nice kitty. Here, have a closure.

In the new edition of JavaScript Cookbook, I covered JavaScript in the browser, and re-visited our old friends (Ajax and the JS objects), yes. But I also spent a considerable time covering JavaScript in the server, in the cloud, and in our mobile devices. The only environment I didn't cover is the open source hardware, DIY, wearable world, and that's because I feel these need more preliminary introductions to the environment, so you don't do something like fry your new Raspberry Pi. Or Computer. Or shirt.

I will never join with those who are critical of JavaScript. I have always had fun with this language. There's just so much you can do with it.

Categories: Latest Writings

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