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Jan 4 2012

Skipping Stones

Summer days, and a
Brown-eyed gaze, and a
A country lake, and pier–
Moonlit haze and stars
Ablaze, sitting in
The center of the mirror.

Oh, who can this be
Looking at me, when
There’s other goofs around?
But I shoulda known
What the ol’ wind’s blown
Only knows how to fly.

For her not knowing
How to play, we made
That old guitar sound good.
Every summer, looked
Forw’d to another,
Spent alongside my friend.

We were skipping stones
And singing sad songs,
Though she never said why.
We were different,
Not at all the same,
But not much not alike.

Though we were just friends,
While just kids, we knew
A thing ’bout being there–
We found heart-shaped stones
On the ol’ railroad
That spoke, “love’s unbreakable.”

So when her parents
Were all on the fence
She knew right from the wrong,
Embraced the heart shape
Wore on her neck, but,
Worn, it just rubbed it in.

Now I don’t know what
All then happened there,
Except 15 needs a home,
But she went to school
Somewhere out of state
And somewhere out of mind.

Oh, there was a time
When the telephone line,
It was way too long, so,
Friends could never be
Separated, now
Lines know not where to go.

And sometimes I swear
When the weather’s fair
I see ya on the pier,

But I’m too afraid of ghosts
To discover you’re real
But not really there,

Yeah, I’m too afraid to look
And discover you’re real
But not really there.

Dec 5 2011

Running XCP nested in KVM Tutorial

Want to try a new version of Xen or Xen Cloud Platform (XCP), but lack the spare hardware to give them a quick test run?

Fortunately, it’s possible to try them inside of a virtual machine! For this HOWTO, I used the Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor on Ubuntu to demonstrate how easy it is to test Xen on a common personal computer setup.

Read the HOWTO here:

Oct 5 2011

Occupy Boston – sit-in to block street, police arrive

Almost-live video coverage of Occupy Boston protest (inspired by Occupy Wall Street) on October 5, 2011 (1:51 pm), as protesters blocked the street, police arrived with tie-strap handcuffs, and protesters shouted chants then left the street to return to the lawn they have been occupying.

I saw this on the street as I was walking by, while visiting Boston. I do not necessarily agree with their messages or their mode of protest–I’m just reporting what I saw.

Aug 2 2011

Loud Body Language

I wrote this poem about my observations while people-watching in a small coffeehouse in Boston.

Your loud body language–
Is like a slap to the face,
But stings much deeper,
In accompaniment with
The song you sing.

But, for now, your words
With the melody of your heart
Form a painful love song–
Reveal a contradiction
Of tears and sound.

Aug 2 2011

Impossible Makes Perfect

It came, then passed.
Expectations hoarded satisfaction, sharing none.
Out the window–through the panes–went the plans, through the pains.
The feigning of my lack of control
Turned from ever-realization into sudden actualization.
My momentum lost, Sovereignty kicked in,
I am caught in Love’s fate’s currents, stream.
Promises ever-unfolding–not forgotten–and I am trusting.
When only the impossible can, only the best can happen.
This will pass, it will come.

May 8 2011

Near-space Weather Balloon Recovery Adventure

This post is an actual account of a two-day adventure to track, locate, and recover K2CC’s space capsule from its first ever near-space weather balloon experiment. Day 1 (referred to as “yesterday”) is Thursday, May 5, 2011 and Day 2 (referred to as “today”) is Friday, May 6, 2011. The launch site was at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY USA.

As I wipe Southwest Chipotle Sauce from my hands and face, I notice the strange feeling of a full stomach that has not yet fully recovered from the mild airplane sickness from just an hour before. The search and rescue flight was long, fatiguing, and fruitless until just past the point of wanting to give up. The sound of the radio beacon was so faintly trying to get our attention at first that we almost missed it when our yawns out-cried its transmissions.

Day 2 Search Flight Path (OpenStreetMap Image)

Day 2 Balloon Spotted from Small Plane (White Shape)

To have been able to plan a search path to fly and even hear the radio beacon is quite incredible; however, to have made a visual confirmation of the space capsule’s landing place in the Adirondacks is next to impossible! Waypoint logged, here we are on our way to hopefully recover our aerial photography from our near-space weather balloon. Best yet, it’s late evening, leaving us with little remaining daylight, we have to hike through thick, swampy Boreal forest, and I’m covered with Southwest Chipotle Sauce. I hope there are no bears this far North that have ever vacationed in the Southwest to then say, “Is that Southwest Chipotle Sauce? My, I haven’t sunk my canines into a juicy Southwest Chipotle-style human since that rodeo years back!”

Day 1 Balloon Preparing For Liftoff (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Day 1 Balloon Liftoff (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Just yesterday, we launched the balloon and payload around 4pm with great success. At the last minute, I remembered that I happened to have an audible emergency siren in my vehicle, so I grabbed that, clipped it on the space capsule, and we enabled it upon launch. We released it from a lawn on campus and watched it ascend toward the clouds, and then hopped in our vehicles equipped with tracking and recovery gear. Our tracking and recovery gear consisted of VHF radios for receiving the position transmissions, computers and software for decoding the position data, specialized mapping software for comparing multiple waypoints, GPS receivers, UHF radios for mission voice communications, GSM and CDMA cellular telephones for receiving APRS network data from (in the very few spots that cellular coverage was possible), UHF radios for receiving the separate radio beacon transmissions, directional antennae for determining the relative bearing of the radio beacon, and standard hiking gear. While in our vehicles, we tracked a balloon flight path to the South, which then turned and completed a large circle.

Day 1 Balloon Flight Path According to APRS Telemetry (OpenStreetMap Image)

Day 1 Recovery Drive Over Two-by-four Bridge on Logging Roads (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Due to GPS location transmissions being interrupted prematurely, we were unable to determine the landing site, which necessitated the use of balloon trajectory prediction software. We drove on some very rough, and scary, logging roads near the predicted possible landing area. We even had to cross some interesting wooden bridges! Unfortunately, we were unable to receive either GPS location transmissions or the separate beacon’s transmissions, which led to our eventual small plane flight today.

Day 2 Recovery Hike Tracking Radio Beacon with Directional Antenna (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

In this second evening attempt, we arrive 0.7 miles from the spotted landing site on a major State highway at 8pm. Three of us begin our hike with hiking gear, a UHF radio, and a directional antenna. We hike through thick forest with an unusual, swampy, moss-covered floor. After a while of pushing our way through the forest, we come to a stream.

While in the air, we noticed this stream that would be in our way, as well as a beaver dam stretched across it. After locating it, we then cross the stream by walking 100 feet along the top of the beaver dam until safely on the other side, which also necessitated throwing down logs from the dam to repair a 10-foot gap in the center of the dam. We then continue pushing our way through the forest toward the source of the UHF beacon transmissions, and inquire about a strange-sounding bird we occasionally hear chirp.

Day 2 Recovery Hike Crossing Beaver Dam Repaired By Us (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Day 2 Recovery Hike with Space Capsule Hanging Just Overhead (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Eventually, we arrive at the general vicinity of the landing site, but are so close to the source of the radio beacon transmissions that we no longer can determine a direction. At this point, we are searching every tree for a shiny, metallic space capsule dangling by a string. Just then, we hear that same unusual chirp, and realize it is too acrylic-sounding to belong in the forest. The occasional chirp is not from a bird, but from the battery-exhausted audible beacon we had clipped on the space capsule as an afterthought! We turn and look with our flashlights to see our space capsule dangling from an evergreen tree. I suggest we fell the tree, but the capsule is only about 8 feet off the ground, so we decide to simply pull it down instead.

Day 2 Recovery Hike with Capsule, Parachute, and Balloon Remnants Successfully Recovered (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

Day 2 Recovery Hike Successful (Photo by Tyler Conlon)

With coyotes packing up behind us, we trek back to the beaver dam, cross the pond using the dam again, and press through the pitch-black forest back to the vehicle. After an intense hike through the dark, we arrive back at the road where the vehicle is parked. We arrive in Potsdam at 10:15pm with space capsule, parachute, and balloon remnants in hand, and recover the memory cards from the horizontal and vertical digital cameras with incredible timelapse photography on board!

Aerial Photo of Potsdam, NY Taken by Balloon (Photo by K2CC's Weather Balloon)

Aerial Photo of Space Taken by Balloon (Photo by K2CC's Weather Balloon)

Other notable photos from K2CC’s weather balloon and space capsule, as well as from the recovery missions:

APRS Position Telemetry Messages: balloon_aprs_dot_fi_messages

Tyler Conlon’s website:
K2CC’s website:

Nov 1 2010

People Are Awkward

We talked.
To my surprise, it was not as awkward as it naturally could be,
Or perhaps as it naturally should be, especially during the awkward moments that followed an all-to-common topic that should probably be uncommon or otherwise less-common in natural discourse.

Next, I realized how awkward it was that it wasn’t awkward.
Of course, such an awkward thought of the awkwardness of the lack of awkwardness made me feel awkward.
In fact, at that point, I probably even began acting awkwardly.

Then, I had the realization that the realization of the awkwardness of the lack of awkwardness was making me feel awkward and probably act awkwardly.
At last, I decided to stop thinking about it and just revel in the awkward lack of awkwardness of the otherwise naturally-awkward situation, which otherwise would have been awkwardly awkward if I had not stopped thinking of its awkward and unnatural lack of awkwardness.
Get over it—people are awkward, and that, itself, is awkwardly not-so-awkward.

May 28 2010

World’s Best Food(s)

I am in search of the world’s most delicious food or meal. Unfortunately, after much searching, I came to the realization that every culture’s and every person’s tastes are so vastly different, that even locally-popular foods are hardly noticeable on a global scale–it is even difficult to form a list of the most popular foods! I guess this adds to the value of and great feeling associated with cooking for others and sharing with them one’s own food experiences.

So, here I ask you, what are some of the best foods/dishes that you have had that you recommend trying at least once in life, and is there a noteworthy setting that added to the experience?

May 23 2010

57 Logo

I’m sitting in 57, just having finished cleaning up a bit. I turned off the lights, and before I could leave I was deafened by the silence and tranquility. I just sat down for a moment, enjoying the night sounds in the dim light, enjoying the cars and passers-by. The contrast in this place is amazing. What was vibrant and bright just moments before is now strangely reflective and absorbant of all my energy. Cast on the wall adjacent to the window is the shadow of the “57″ decal. It makes me wonder as to what makes a logo–is it a location or a name?

Right now, the face of this place is no longer backlit but now a filter. The physical view I’m accustomed to, filled with people I look forward to seeing, is eclipsed now and all that is left is the spiritual feeling that always fills this place. Sometimes when I’m caught up with songs and people I become distracted from experiencing it fully, but it’s always there for the taking whenever we become fumbled in our words and teary in our sight–whenever we return to the heart of worship. Alas, there’s no busyness in which to hide at the end of the day, for God knows our hiding place.

So, God, take my life too–and someday my death–as Yours to use for Your glory, since You have taken my hiding place and now there’s no running from Everlasting Love or Amazing Grace. I thank You for the wonderful people with which we spent our day, and I thank You for inviting us to worship and serve You tonight. What a great opportunity it is to engage in fellowship with such wonderful brothers and sisters. Thank You even more, though, for the opportunity to love and be loved by You all the time, even in-between times of fellowship, filling in the gap with You meeting us in the middle. Thank You for concerning Yourself in the affairs of our lives and this world, and welcoming us into eternal worship with Your wide, open, loving arms.

I’m starting to think this is why Jeremy serves here so often by voluntarily cleaning this place. There’s something about it more than simply what it represents and accomplishes (and the personal storage space it is sometimes used for during the summer) and that is due only to God’s presence and Blessing. Perhaps it was a God idea and not just a good idea.

May 11 2010

I’m Falling Asleep

Brilliance drives by.
Filter horizontal stripes
Onto headlights
Cornering shadows,
And together they dance the
Brief waltz that
They die to live for.

Horizon leaning,
Diagonal spinning,
The fade then flashes.
Cars distancing
The dim nighttime hues
That fall between
My fingers like time’s sand.

Pillow cools my mind.
Breath shortens
While form escapes me.
Stanzas are failing.
The night’s music that
Chimed so lovely then
Now forebodes that sanity’s a temporary vapor.

Thoughts evaporate as
The sound of raindrops mists them.
I still feel but
No worries are left in the game.
I feel peace and
Wonderful love and
Even see the potential future today.

(Submitted from my phone.)