Thursday, June 30, 2011

RE: Regarding the burns of June 28, 2011

Date: June 30, 2011
From: CNS attn: Committee of Planning
To: Emergency Action Committee of Skin Cells
CC: Council of Skin Unions, Soft Tissue Alliance, CNS Pain Management Unit
Subject: RE: Regarding the burns of June 28, 2011

Thank you for your request. We have already been made aware of the burns from the CNS Pain Management Unit. We at the CoP sincerely apologize for this incident and will try our best to prevent this from happening again. We will move the current sun screen supply we have on hand to the main mode of transportation, currently the car. We also have Aloe moisturizer that we request to apply at least one per day until all current burns are resolved.

We realize you are in the process of repairing the burned skin, we however wish to warn you to beware of automated responses to mosquito and fly bites. We have taken the liberty of requesting on your behalf from the Automated Response System to remove insects in a way that results in less than normal pain.

Your information about guarding on July 3rd is correct. A quick consult of the current forecasts indicates that there is a chance of thunderstorms and clouds. While we are aware that a burn is possible even under complete clouds, if the weather conditions to go astray, the car will offer protection from the sun, so the risk to the unions’ repair process should be limited. Please be forewarned that on July 2nd there is planned to collect beach wood, including sawing through large pieces of wood. We will try to avoid the sun when possible and wear sunscreen but we cannot guarantee complete shade thru the entire day.

Take care and good luck with the repair work.

Committee of Planning

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On the Move

On Sunday I moved my campsite. It has been three weeks since I got here. I have been at my site so long that the grass has gone dormant. If I were to stay put, the grass would die. So I moved two campsites down and at the new site there are more trees to run support lines. Take a look:

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Regarding the burns of June 28, 2011

Date: June 29, 2011
From: Emergency Action Committee of Skin Cells
To: CNS attn: Committee of Planning
CC: Council of Skin Unions, Soft Tissue Alliance
Subject: Regarding the burns of June 28, 2011

Dear Committee of Planning:
We the Skin Cell Unions of 2301, 2302, 2303R, 2303L, 2328L, and 2328R, forming the current Emergency Action Committee (EACoSC231) wish to address an event on June 28, 2011. On this date all of the unions of the EAC0SC, as well as Union 2325, experienced approximately five(5) hours of full solar light. This solar light included high amounts of UVA and UVB energy. This UVA and UVB light caused damage to most of the areas of control of the members of the EACoSC231.

We understand from multiple sources that this incident was a result of accepting to take a coworker’s shift, which lasted from 11:30 to 16:30. The acceptance with this shift addition was performed without consideration of inadequate supply of any sun protection. We do understand that from 14:00 to 16:30 was due to miscommunication and could not be prevented, however from about 10:00 to 14:00 is the peak strength of the UVA and UVB light. We wish that this was considered.

We have two requests to make. First we wish to make to the Committee of Planning that the Committee of Planning please review the requests of EACoSC211, EACoSC222, EACoSC223, as well as our request that from now on a bottle of sunscreen be kept in any and all modes of transportation for emergency usage such as what occurred on June 28.
Second, we ask that all new acceptances of shifts first be passed by and approved by the Council of Skin Unions and/or the Soft Tissue Alliance. We realize this will cause a delay in responses, so when the shift is less than two hours long and current burn amount is less than five percent (5%), we are fine with being bypassed in the decision making process.

According to our sources, the next outdoor shift is July 3, 2011 from 11:30 to 14:00. We wish to hear a response by then, and during that shift be excessively coated in a sun protector.

Thank you for hearing our requests.

Emergency Action Committee
of Skin Cells 231

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Today is the first day of guarding!

Well we opened last week but this is the first time the weather has allowed me to work. Occasionally there is a day that just sticks out from normal. Today we had one of those days as a helicopter landed.  Apparently the pilots went for pizza. A little bit later they took off, flew right over head, and left.

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky: Travis, the camping lifeguard

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spirit Rocks

I can’t remember if I mentioned them before, but out here on the beach there is a type of special rocks called Grandfather Rocks or Spirit Rocks. Take a look! (Click on the image for larger view)

And here are some others I found:

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

They’re getting bigger!

Since Saterday, the weather has been less than desired. It has been cold and windy and rainy. Yesterday was the biggest waves so far, with some waves four feet tall when hitting shore, on top of a three foot rise in water level. I plan to post videos later, but even when I was there for half an hour after gettting back from swim lessons the water tops rose. When I first got back an occasional wave was going over the top of the beach and into a nearby lagoon. By the time I was done filming, every wave was going over!

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blast off!

Welcome swimmers to the first day of swim lessons! The pool is nice and warm at 85°! Most of you are wet from the rain, so lets just get in!

I have two classes in the morning, both with already good swimmers. In my second class we even went off the diving board! I can tell these next nine days are going to be awsome!

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Monday, June 20, 2011

5! 4! 3! 2! 1!

Its almost time! Friday was beach setup day, Saturday and Sunday were the weekend and lifeguarding, and today was our staff meeting! Tomorrow is the first day of swim lessons!

Beach setup is always interesting and nerve racking. We have two beaches we setup on, Bayview Beach, which is where we guard at. The other beach, Krare (not how you spell it) we set up but don’t guard it, partially because the deep end is waist deep. At Bayview, AKA Pamida Beach, has a diving board and dock, making it the teens hangout (at least until they break the rules). We setup the rope and buoy so that swimmers don’t stray off and boats keep out. The rope is never that difficult after the annoying untangle, but the buoy is a different story. Two cement blocks hold it down as the anchor. We have to some how get it out to the spot and tie the rope around it. Our boat is a plug short of being able to float so we swim it out...well I.

Normally to move the buoy, I would swim to the bottom and lift the bricks and rocks. Not bad for a short distance, but getting it out there is a long cold way to walk at under the water. Oddly one day while lifeguarding I calculated out that a rescue tube we use for lifeguarding is somewhat more buoyant than a cement brick. Using our two beach tubes, I can keep the entire system above water and swim it to the spot, then pull on the straps and undo a slipknot for both tubes and we are set!

This weekend was supposed to be me lifeguarding, but it was cold and cloudy out. Instead I sat in my car and worked on school work and read part of a book. I have read more this summer than I have all year! Too bad the books I want aren't free.

Today was our meeting for swim lessons and lifeguarding. I found out what my classes are for session 1 (Level 2, 1, preschool, and parent child!). We all then worked on practicing rescue skills for the pool and beach. I am glad we do in-services, because the college pool we do not and we do not have to do a lot of rescues at the beach, so its good to try out stuff. What was interesting is there are three of us regular lifeguards who are certified to teach lifeguarding, so we are kind of looked up to for knowing stuff. I wound up supervising the practice with one of the teachers while the other one was working with two guards on what to do if there was a pool rescue. The pool presents a problem in that there is normally only one guard there at a time. If there was an emergency and we needed to do a rescue, we would be by ourselves for a while and need to get the victim to a state where they cannot drown while we wait for help. Luckly in my 5 years there we have not had anything serious occur.

Tonight I am going to the circus here in town, then tomorrow at 9 is lessons!

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Then and Now

I mentioned a while ago Jeniqua was the one who brought me to nature. Had it not been for her, I would not be doing this right now...she got the ball rolling. Let me tell you who I was before her. I remember it like it was yesterday... *Fill screen with white wavy lines indicating flashback sequence*

I grew up mainly with three sets of toys, K’nex, Legos, and a farm set. Oh, and there was the train track but that was almost always with the farm set. Pretty much every weekend I would play McDonalds in the upstairs hallway with my younger sister. When not playing that I would build with K’nex and Legos. K’nex almost always became a steerable car or amusement park rides. Legos were guaranteed to become a weather station. I remember that usually the most pride out of the weather station was not that it was two stories, but that the motor that ran the satellite dish actually had a passive heat duct built into housing. All three toy sets would then merge on the top bunk of the futon I had in my room, while I slept on the couch due to a fear of heights and rolling off something so high.

This pretty much summed up every weekend in elementary, middle and high school, at least until we got the family computer at which computer games also got included. I still think the Christmas gift of Flight Simulator 2002 was a ploy by my parents to get over my fear of flying, which did work and is still an awesome game. My first laptop resulted in lots of cities being made in Sim City, lots of flights in FS2002, empires concored with Civilization 2, and trying to see if Intelligent Qube and Crash Bandicoot from the PlayStation would work on my laptop. My time on my laptop and the family computer is why I know so much about them now...I liked to experiment and break things, then hopefully fix them before the parents got home.

When it rainned outside I would go outside after it was done and use sticks to change the flow of water going down the driveway behind the house, or move puddles in the pasture using the rubber boots I had on and squishing the ground. Sometimes we would build bonfires or I would ride my bike into a cement wall (pre-teen and teen years...also how I learned how to ride and use the rear brake not the front). Sometimes we would head to the ravine behind our house, a forth mile away (I love Iowa, everything is so grid like), and go on a walk or sledding.

One of my favorite places of “where the dead cars are” ravine was the large hole in the ground where the water in the ravine would drain into the neighbors land. It was a six foot diameter L shaped metal tube that went down then under the fence. There was always the worry when sledding we would get swallowed up in it like my closet once did (thanks mom for getting us out) and be trapped forever. Yet, other than the spring pit out there, I didn’t really care about the natural parts of the ravine. Heck I cared so little I spell it revene, which spellcheck says its wrong so I go to reveane. Time to look up words similar to vally (which adds another step since its really valley) in order to get ravine, which odd since I say it revenue.

Anyways, dad would sometimes ask me if I wanted to go to “where the dead cars are” or somewhere else for a walk. I could tell he was disappointed but I didn’t really care about going on some boring walk exploring nature...Train Simulator is more interesting...each tree is six flat services rotated 45° from each other so no mater which angle you look at it looks full. Great way to be pseudo 3-D and use less processing power. No, figuring out how they programmed this game is way more intresting.

Then I met Jeniqua. We met part way through our fall freshman year. She was an outdoor nerd, I was a computer nerd. A perfect contradiction. We became friends and she got me to enjoy the outdoors. In the mornings we would go on a walk either in the ravine or ravine or ravine. When your college is surrounded on three sides by a ravine, its where you go to explore. I just now released that gives a little more meaning to the Jurassic Park gates the college installed. I remember the end of my freshman year, mom was driving me home and looking in the ditch at purple flowers would remind me of her. Nature had become not just intresting, but with meaning to other parts of my life.

In our junior year of college we went camping twice. The first time was just to Washburn and was a trial for an epic adventure to Canada! I believe the socially correct phase for describing the trip is “OMG so AWSOME!” On one night, we hiked to the top of a mountain to watch the sun set, went back down to have dinner and stare at the stars (must be what staring is all about, they both start with star) then slept until 4 am before hiking back up the mountain for pancakes and watch the sunrise.

Before this I didn’t go camping at all but these two adventures started it for me. In fact, both that summer, and the summer after I went back to Washburn to camp, and hopefully see loons. Oddly enough to get there its 16 miles. Sound familiar? Yes, I biked out there and back too. And, unlike what I am doing now, everything I had to camp with was attached onto my bike. Fairly minimalistic, just sleeping bag, pad, tent and JUST enough food to last, and off course my camera. If it had not been for those spring and summer trips, I would be currently living on campus, spending 300$ per month and having my pots and pans stolen like last year.

Thank you Jeniqua!

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...The Camping Lifeguard

A bike ride down memory lane

Well I finally did it, and not sure I want to do it ever again. On Monday I biked the full distance from my campsite to Northland College, and back (36 miles). Don’t worry, I rested for about five hours. On my ride to Ashland I took Highway 2. After getting to the highway, the trip was pretty easy. For some reason I saw the same car pass twice, and I know it was the same because it was filled with garbage bags. Most of the route is downhill, but its so level that you don’t get any speed boost.

On the way back I took the back road which takes me though Old Odanah. I have been on this road once before, and being on it makes me remember of that first time. Jeniqua went for a bike ride on this road about half way to Odanah. I remember how she was getting worn out because she didn’t know at the time how to use the gears, and I was getting worn out because my bike was old and small.  Jeniqua is just under a foot shorter than me, yet her bike was taller than mine. Riding my bike was like being on a small tricicle, my knees were up to my waist, on the downstroke. I have a new bike now, and riding it I am taller than the walkers on the bike trail to the road.

I think I am going to take that road more often, the bumps are worse but its quiet and you can think.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Children of Lac du Flambeau

Three days ago I posted about the Mother Earth Water Walk. That weekend a few groups of people came to stay at the same area I am camping at for the event. One of these groups, the first to arrive, was a group of about a dozen children from the Lac du Flambeau Reservation here in Northern Wisconsin.

I first met them when letting them in though the entrance gate. Once I was heading back to my campsite I noticed they were having some trouble with their tent so I went and helped them. After they were done with that they needed some help with their fire. Turns out this is new to most of them including the mother leading the trip. I stayed to help them cook dinner, which of course hotdogs on a fire pit grill was also new to them. The kids and I started to get along, and by the next day, Saturday, we spent most of the time they were here hanging out.

Unlike Friday, Saturday was a nice day, so after helping start lunch/dinner we all went swimming. The water was cold but the rock collecting was good. Four year old Sky had a bucket and we would stop at each spot of rocks to pick out the prettiest. After lunch the swimming turned into keep away with my watergun. I was severely outnumbered.

Anyone who knows me knows that when I am in the water, any game turns into a game of “Lets drown Travis.” Here is how this name normally works. Three to five kids will hold on to my arms and neck and try to sink me. I, being able to stand just fine with seven kids on me, will sink to the bottom, wait until the kids cant hold their breath any longer and they go up for air, then I swim away, come up and splash them, then we start again.

We are going to take that game and just toss it out my tent window here, and wait a second...sploosh, that is just floating away in the lake, working its way to Canada. No, this game involved no letting go. Turns out one of the girls can hold their breath as long as I can. She also had the tightest grip on me. I never went down to less than two still on me, trying to drown me. Instead of this game ending when someone started crying or a pool check, this game ended after we all decided that shivering meant it is time to get out!

After some s’mores we played a few rounds of a game, which name I cannot remember, but it is equivalent to Sharks and Minnios. Someone would start as it, and the rest of us would have to run to the other side without being tagged. The winner was the last one standing. Well last one to get tagged, as those who survived, and even those who didn’t, and even the taggers, would lie in the sand until the next round.

Another round of s’mores, some story telling how I almost passed out from touching a hot pan a long time ago and it was time to call it a night. It was then I explained to Ricki about how the white man took the land her people lived on and made it their own because of greed and wanting to be wealthy and happy (Read Mother Earth Water Walk Part 1). Once trash was picked up we all said good night and I even got some hugs.

Sunday started with everyone sleeping until 9, then I was invited to breakfast at the local casino. Getting back and onto the road that leads from the highway to the lake was about eight cars coming for the water walk. We all walked along the shoreline from our campsites to where the water would come down to meet the lake, then headed back. You can read about what went on there at Mother Earth Water Walk Part 2.

Back at the beach we played another game of who can get who cold and wet and more rock searching and skipping, followed by lunch. Then it was time for the kids to go home. Packing up a tent and everything else was of course quite an event but some more hugs and highfives and other ways of saying goodbye and it was time for them to depart. There is hope among most of us that sometime this summer they can come and visit again.

The kids, who will be reading this when they can are Elise, Lydiah aka Spazam Girl, the future lifeguard Presley, Kathleen, Merrilee, Sky, Robert, Brooklyn, Ricki, Winter, Audra, Richard, Kenny, JJ, and the leader of the group Betty. Hi everyone! It was fun having you all around. I can’t wait for you to all visit again.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Mother Earth Water Walk Part 2

The Water Walk was today (Sunday). When the group I have been hanging out with got back from breakfast, we walked down the beach to where the walk was going to finish and the water from the 4 corners, the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay, would meet and come together. As we waited for the water, many of the kids, including kids not with the group, and I went to throw and skip rocks while the adults talked. The atmosphere there felt like a family reunion; people may not have known each other directly, but we have so much in common that we skipped the talk and had fun. After a while of rock skipping (I got 7 skips, a personal best) and searching for the best rocks, the water started arriving. We climbed the hill to watch the walkers pass, and I don’t know how but the girl I was standing next to knew exactly which walkers were from which direction. Once all the water arrived, we (about 100 spectators) went down for a prayer to the spirits. I unfortunately could not hear what they said.

I wish I had more to write about but I am afraid I missed many of the events as I did not know the Water Walk was going on until Thursday. However at they have more information, videos, and audio to hear more about the ceremony and previous walks.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Mother Earth Water Walk Part 1

Jello swimmers. I want to talk to you about water. This weekend I got to experience something I wasn't expecting, an event Mother Earth Water Walk. Water from the Pacific, Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Arctic were walked to Lake Superior. It is being done to raise awareness of the largest freshwater lakes in the world.

Starting out as early as April 10th, four groups were walking (and one train ride from the Arctic) carrying water to meet here. As I write this, tomorrow the water will be joined and put into Lake Superior, to help purify the lake. It is a call to the people of area and the world that we need to protect our lakes and other water sources from pollution and from being drained to water other peoples wants and not their needs.

I say that as I remember from college that one thing the states in the SW want to do is run a pipe from the Great Lakes to their land. They forget that they live in the desert and in the desert grass does not normally grow, so they must rely on their water sources to grow their grass and wash their cars when the water should be for drinking. They have already caused such damage that the Colorado River no longer flows to the ocean. Instead is dries up in a desert.

This walk is being done by the elders of the Anishinaabe, groups of Native Americans from the Odawa, Potawatomi, and the Ojibwe. I am not as familiar with the first two, but it is Ojibwe reservation land that I am on right now. The Ojibwe people stretch from here along the South Shore of Lake Superior up to Canada. All of this land was theirs before the white men came and took it from them and claimed it as their own. I say theirs but the Native Americans knew that the land and the lakes did not belong to them, they did not own it. Instead they are part of Mother Earth, and they are the children of the Mother, and they need to take care of her and all that she is.

As I was telling one of the little girls, Ricki, who is here for the ceremony, the white men, my ancestors, are more of the approach of “Mine Mine Mine Mine”. I explained to her that my ancestors believed that land was more valuable than money, not from a standpoint of being able live off of it (though a good use), but land meant power. The more land, the more power. The more money, the more power. The more money, the more land. She then asked me why money was so important to them. I told her that back then and today, people believe that money buys happiness. I could tell that she understood what I said, but also that she knew that money does not buy happiness.

This nine year old knows what others do not. Its not money that makes you truly happy, its friends and family that does, and for her, Stranger, her dog. The neighbors, who I will write about soon, know this, living of the grid with just what they need and some toys. The Native Americans also knew this for thousands of years and even today.

Happiness also comes from being one with Earth. Listening to the loons call for their mates, the wolf howl to their friends. The leaves rustle at the slightest winds, the waves break along the shore. This happiness has been known for so long by the Native Americans, by others who share this love for nature, and my best friend, Jeniqua, who, if it was not for being friends with her in college, I would not have learned this same happiness, and probably not even being doing this entire trip.

It is this happiness the Anishinaabe are walking for. Just like ships and countries would fight to protect their gold and other valuables, the Anishinaabe are doing their own fight, not for what is theirs, but what brings life to all of us up here and around the world...Lake Superior and Mother Earth.

If you want to learn more, visit

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's getting hot in here...I hope

It's been cold here lately. Earlyer it was about 50 degrees in the tent, 47 outside. Well meet my tent heater

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Camp Sweet Camp

Since I am posting pictures anyways, say jello to my campsite.

Note the toilet seat cover in front of my door!

My chives from last school year. Cant believe they were still here

Looking out from my campsite

Oh What a Night!

Last night, this morning was my first of many interesting nights to come. At about 2 am some thunderstorms started rolling across my area with extremely heavy rain and lightning. It kept me awake for a while. After the first round passed I went outside to run to the bathroom as I could hear round two comming. I could tell everything was wet but there were no leaks in my tent, my tarps protecting me from the rain and wind were still up and just as I left them. I could see the lightning in the distance where the storm went, and some where the next one was at.

This morning it got really really windy and blew my tarps off the pipes I put up to hold them in place. What was intresting was for how windy it was, there was not much wave action. This afternoon it switched: now the waves are really big but very little wind.



First thunderstorm of the trip
The tent is still dry
Now I need to go potty

I made a hikue!
I want to make another one
The rain is stopping

Hmm, a 7-5-7 and a 5-7-5 hikue...I think I need to back to sleep. How do you spell hikue?

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky: Travis...the camping lifeguard

PS.  Just found the correct spelling 2 years and 10 days later.  It's haiku.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Easiest way to pass out?

Inflate a sleeping mattress without a pump.

Sorry Nanna, but the mattress you got for me for my birthday seems to deflate at night and starts to hurt me.

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky: Travis

Oh the stuff you can buy

I went to Walmart today after using the internet in Ashland and picked up a few things. I got a birthday cake for myself, some dinner, some D links to help build my shelter, a broom to remove sand from my tent, and a toilet seat cover.

Nice little in and out trip...should have bought some more rope though.

Oh have you noticed the signature I have used the last few days? I am at my tent right now using my iPhone to make this post and when I do that it will say I am the mobile guy with his eye on the sky. Expect a few more spelling mistakes and a little less sense out of these messages.

Oh and for those who are curious, my eye is always on the sky because I love to watch the weather.

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky: Tra...

Oh the toilet seat cover? Thought I would have to dig holes? Nope, there is a portapotty here while the landowners friend finishes the new outhouse.
No, I'm not using the seat cover for that, I bought it because it was less than a rug, it's fluffier, and I can use it as a door mat and wipe the sand off my feet so I don't track it in then have to sweep the sand out later. Smart ehh?

Like I said, oh the stuff you can buy!

Now please don't interrupt my call sign again

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky: Travis...the camping lifeguard

Sunday, June 5, 2011

First bike ride

Went on a 16 mile bike ride this morning before lunch...down to Odanah and back. I did 16 since that is how far I have to go to get to my lifeguarding beach. Got back and the neighbors kids were playing in the sand along the beach

A few years ago was the movie "Supersize Me". The producer and star of that movie, Morgen something went on to do a tv series called "30 days". In one episode Morgen lived on a native american reservation in the SW. What he showed was a very poor area, where water is trucked in, homes are falling apart mobile homes, and over the entire reservation was only 5 job openings compares to thousands in a near by town off the reserve.

It's not as bad here in Odanah, it's smaller and there is Ashland about 10 miles away and there is running water, but you can tell it's still quite poor. Most home are mobile homes, some even without a driveway.

It's hard to make a living up here on this land as it is mostly wetland. Everything that is not wet has houses on it. This is due to the government giving the native Americans land other people didn't want. Everywhere I have been up here there has been some kind of wetland.

Tomorrow I going to go into town to work, and I plan to bike there. Only 17 miles!

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky: Travis

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Home is made

It took me a while but the tent is up, stuff has been moved, and dinner has come and gone. It's 10pm yet there is still twilight. As I type the waves are to my right, frogs are to my left, and mosquitos are all around.

I am on a long beach, it almost goes on forever. The sand is clean and whitish, with pebbles dotting it. Where I am at, in my tent, is about 10 feet up. The ground is sand and grass and I already need a vacuum for my tent.

I already mentioned the insects and frogs, I have also seen and heard a loon call out and an otter swim by.

Tomorrow I need to work on my biking, and also set up the tarps. I have a large tarp to make a rain shelter out of, and a small tarp to keep my car cool.

It's been a long and hit day, and now sleep calls for me. Good night swimmers. Tomorrow let's do some swimming.

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky: Travis...the camping lifeguard

At the beach

I have made it to Ashland. Now to my campsite. It is so much cooler here.

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky: Travis...the camping lifeguard

Friday, June 3, 2011

Its almost time

Its almost time. In just a few hours I am hitting the road on my way to Ashland and the great Lake Superior. Almost everything is packed and in the car, I have sorted out my room a little for it’s 3 month hiadis, chickens are fed, batteries are charged, I am as ready as ever.

After this point internet access is sketchy, power is only when at work, and water has to be carried in.
In just a few hours, the Camping Lifeguard goes from an idea to being real. The introduction is almost over, and chapter 1 is about to start.

In an appropriate end to the intro, I also have finished the internet part of my orientation for Western Governors University. Just need to do a few phone calls and I start classes.

Tomorrow I will try and post when I get setup, but if you do not hear from me, that means even my cell phone has no internet access, but i promise to post something on monday.
Its almost time.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How a computer boots

I believe I also mentioned I am a computer nerd. Yesterday a friend got back her laptop after having it repaired due to a bad monitor or something. They actually replaced the monitor, the monitor cable, and her motherboard, which I don't understand why the motherboard, based on her symptoms it sounded more like monitor itself. She asked what a motherboard is and my response was:

Usually in a laptop thats one of the first to die since it gets bent around so much. As for your motherboard, based on your symptoms I highly doubt they needed to replace it. Based on the symptoms you listed a while back…the issue should have been fixed with just one thing being replaced. Please tell me it was covered under warranty.

The motherboard connects the CD drive, monitor, keyboard, touchpad, CPU (brain of computer), GPU (makes stuff pretty), wireless card, USB ports, and EVERYTHING else to EVERYTHING. Oh, and it has the BIOS/CMOS chips…the chips needed to even start the computer. The fact that you could at least see the manufacturer logo means the motherboard was ok (or was it you could see the windows logo?)

Ok, thats not too bad, just simple explanation of what the mother board does. Problem is I don't stop and this happens:

****Start of technical stuff which can be skipped if desired****

1. When you press the power button a chip in the computer senses the current travel from the power source (PSU) of either wall or battery, and the chip locks open, sending power to

2. BIOS, which when first given power check every major component of the system, the motherboard itself, the CPU, the memory (RAM), GPU, and on some computer the keyboard. This tends to be in roughly that order. Depending on the system and settings the system will also check the WIFI, CD-Rom, Harddrive, and Floppy drive

a. When the motherboard fails, you might not hear anything start up.

b. The CPU is then checked. From this point on, if there is a problem, either the onboard speaker will beep a pattern or flash lights in a certain pattern. This pattern can be used to identify what component has failed.

c. The RAM is checked to make sure it can be read/written. BIOS also checks to see if you have added or removed any.

d. If there is one, the GPU is checked. If there is a separate GPU, this is when the manufacturer logo appears. Otherwise the graphic is handled by the CPU at this time

0. When given power the monitor backlights, either florescent tubes or LED lights are lit.

1. The BIOS sends the image of the logo and some text to the GPU, which then sends it via cable to the monitor

2. The monitor screen is then updated extremely quickly (usually 5-8 milliseconds) one pixel at a time.

a. Each pixel contains 3 sub pixels, one red, one green, and one blue. sometimes a sub pixel will break and the shutter of the sub pixel is either open or closed, leaving a small color dot at that spot. Most manufacturers allow unto 8 stuck pixels, after which they replace the screen during or even after production. In the case of your old computer there are 1024*768*3=2,359,296 sub pixels, each of which could go dead when the screen is made or after being used

e. Other systems are checked

3. When this check is complete, the computer is said to have passed POST, the Pre-Operating System Test.

4. During the last three steps, the hard drive is spun up from a dead stop to 45,000 RPM-100,000 RPM depending on the type of drive.

5. Once the hard drive is spinning at full speed, BIOS looks for the Master Boot Record (MBR) which says which partition(s) to boot from

6. As per the MBR, the BIOS looks for a certain file on the drive, normally hidden to you, which tell the BIOS to then load more files.

7. These file are loaded into RAM and ran. At this point these boot files take over and the BIOS is no longer in charge.

8. One of these files that are loaded makes the windows logo onscreen which is displayed while drivers and other system files are loaded into RAM and activated. This is when a Blue Screen of Death can start occurring.

9. Once all drivers kick in and everything needed is loaded, you can finally start using the computer.


10. When you tell Windows to shutdown or restart, the quit command is sent to everything currently running.

11. After waiting, if stuff is still running the kill command will be sent…this will force the program to shut

12. Once all of the top stuff is done, the very basics of the operating system clean up caches and write anything that needs to be written

13. When Windows is done, it sends the halt (shutdown) or reboot (restart) command to the BIOS.

14. if reboot is sent, then we go back to step 2

15. if halt is sent, then the power system is disconnected to almost all components. The power button chip is then set to off

a. there is always some power going to the BIOS so BIOS can remember your last settings (there is also a watch battery to give it power if the normal PSUs are disconnected

b. there is also a little power that goes to the wired internet connection for something called Wake on Lan, which when a special signal is received by your network card, the computer will boot

****End of technical stuff****

It is quite informative but long really, did anyone read all of it? Its ok if you didn't, I understand. What is worse is sometimes I talk like this too. But hey, some day you will be trying to start your computer and something is going wrong and you see the Windows Startup Screen before it crashes to the blue screen, and you take it into get it repaired and they will tell you its 500$ to fix since they need to replace some parts. But you know better, you know your computer made it to step 8, and if they need to replace the motherboard, it wouldn't have made it to step 3. (IF its getting that far its a problem with the OS and depending on the issue it is EASY to fix.

Oh, and after that, I did the same thing to her twice more in the same message!

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the Camping Lifeguard

And just incase anyone wants to read the other to make a periscope, and how to get enough of a voltage for electrofishing when the water is not conductive enough, that is below

****Technical stuff to follow*****

all you would need is a PVC tube including a 90° bend with a mirror at the corner/corners. it would be ok if there was water in it even if I remember correct. Hardest part would be the mirror, but as I think about it, you cut one tube at a 45° joint, then turn one section 180 and reconnect it to get the bend. Then you just need a correctly sized piece of cardboard with smooth tinfoil glued into the corner at a 45° angle from both tubes, where the bottom of the mirror is lined up with the inner side of the vertical piece. I can draw you a picture if you want. if the inner diameter of the tube is x, the shape of the mirror would be oval shaped and size of the mirror would be for width would be x, the length of it would be 2√(2) (because the mirror would form a triangle where the base and height are x since you want no overlap of the mirror to the pipe, else you will lose some of what you could see)

I am not as knowledgeable on the fly in optics but with the right pieces you can make it like binoculars where they magnify
****End Technical stuff****

Oh…now I want to build one of these for the beach
As for zapping them, would either of these ideas work:
1. To increase the ions of the water, have someone upstream add salt? Salt increases the conductivity of the water and is temporary.
2. I just wikipeidad the electroshocking of fish and see it uses DC current.
a. A tazer can produce as much as 500,000V DC. To use that, two things need to happen, first you need to put rubber between the two contacts to prevent the normal arc. second you would want to run wires from both ends of the tazer into the water.

****Begin yet more crazy technical stuff****

I know this sounds dangers, but here is what you have to remember, and you may already know this, but when trying to generate a spark from a tazer or just current flow, you need a high enough voltage to overcome the resistance of whats in the way, such as air or water. In air, the resistance is about 2x10^16 Ω/m where as the eater you are probably in is closer to like drinking water at 200Ω/m if its really clean and salt water is .2Ω/m. Ohm's law says I=V/R, which I is current in Amps, V is voltage of device, and R is resistance. According to, the voltage you need to zap a fish is about 3 amps. To achieve that, using your fish thing at 990V, I=V/R --> 3A=990/R*3M (about the distance from your rod and line for the fish thing. get R to one size and you get 1/3 = R*3/990 --> 990/(3*3m) = a max water resistance of 100Ω/m, which is the lower end of really good drinking water ( A tazor with the contacts 3 meters apart would be 3A=500000V/R*3M -->500000/3A*3M = R = 55555Ω/M or 5.6x10^4Ω/M, which is about ⅓ that of deionized water. so if its really bad you can do 1 meter separation you can catch anything in any kind of water!!

****End of the technical stuff…still not sure where crazy ends****

b. Ok, with that insane idea out of the way, what if you took like sticks or holes in PVC and ran 2 or more wires across the stream bed. lets say the stream is 1 meter deep. if a positive wire was running at the surface and negative along the bottom of the river bed, you would get (from above) 3A=990V/R = 330Ω/m water resistance limit, 3 times as much! But electricity is cool. add in a third wire, so positive at the top, negative in the middle, and positive on the bottom of the edge. now you get 3A=990V/R*.5m -->990/3A/.5m = R is 600Ω/m. you can see where I am going, and a 4th wire (from top to bottom is PNPN) and you get 1000Ω/m limit! That should look like

≃≃≃≃≃≃≃≃≃≃≃≃≃ -water level, top power line: P
\____________/ - N
\__________/ - P
\________/ - N

Just by moving the parts of the zapper closer together we have increased shock level by 10! What happens is the amps are spread out but the voltage between two wires is still the same. When the fish gets passes thru, it will get zapped no matter which level, and the flow that would go to other wires go to the two zapping the fish, which does make the others temporally weaker. Got it? its ok if you don't. Oh, and when you connect the P wires together, do it out of the water where they touch the positive end of your zapper, and same with the negative. at least in the water you don't want them too close together. out of the water as long as you don't see sparks its fine. To test stick your hand thru it…i don't know if you have done it with the fish zapper just sticking your hand into the water…3 volts itsnt bad at all…our electric sheep fence is measuring a possible 1KV and it just tingles a little (though I do have shoes on)(we need about 6KV to actually prevent the sheep from getting out *roll eyes*

Why are there fruit flies in my room? All I have is some peanuts and catnip.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Using RSS

Yesterday I was looking at this blog’s stats. Google keeps track and tells me how many people visit, from where (hello Germany!), and what browser/operating system. I am so proud that half my viewers are Mac users! I also notice Safari also makes up half of my viewers. For those users, let me share a tip with you. Instead of checking every day if I have an new post (like my mom who I see checks my blog every morning between 5 and 6 am), you can be told when my blog is updated. This works for any Safari browser, Mac or Windows.

On the right side of the address bar is the RSS icon:,
click and choose RSS. Or at the bottom of my blog is a line that says “subscribe to posts (Atom)”. From there the screen will change to allow you to see each of my previous blog entries. On the right is the Add Bookmark… which will add a bookmark to your bookmark bar. Alternatively you can drag the icon just to the left of the address in the address bar and drag that to the bookmark bar. Whenever I add something to the blog, a (1) or (2) or something will appear with that link button. This says how many unread articles there are.

In Safari Preferences under the RSS tab you can exit the settings on how long between updates and when to mark them as read.

If you use the Apple Mail app, you can also use this to monitor this and other blogs, which is what I do. It’s how I get my comics every morning and Apple news throughout the day. Beware Mac Defender!

I do not know if there is any special way for Chrome or IE, but if you use either of those and know something special, leave a comment.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard