Vita Rara: A Life Uncommon

Frustrating Days in Quadran Land

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The past week or so has been one of frustration. It seems like I have been working on working. I've been setting up Spring, and WebWork, creating the skeleton of WebWork action classes. All in all a lot of busy work.

In the course of creating the JPA implementation of our data layer I used the JpaDaoSupport from the Spring framework. This caused some boot strapping issues when I went to get all of this running under JBoss 4.0.4.GA. The persistence archive deployed perfectly, but it was bear from that point out getting the DAO's to work. I think I have it figured out, and will post a HOWTO once I have it all working.

Return to Sanity Tour - 2003

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In August and September of 2003 I took my first long motorcycle ride. In March of 2003 I purchased a 1999 BMW R1100RT. My only previous motorcycle was a Yamaha V-Star 650 custom cruiser.

In 2002 I started reading a BMW sport touring discussion board This story was originally posted on that site in about 18 parts, as I edited them for posting. I wrote this story as I travelled, then edited it and posted it on the site.

Please enjoy this tale. It was a transformative ride for me. My life gained a new focus and has been interesting s

Portraits of Freemasonry

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I'm starting a new project today. Over the past few years I have collected a number of pictures of Freemasons, doing various Masonic things. I will be working this into a full section of the site covering Freemasonry and illustrating it with photos from my travels in the craft. Be sure to check it out.

The Photographic Muse


In 2003 I purchased a Canon Digital Rebel 300D. I took thousands of photos. It mostly revolved around landscape photography while I was traveling. I'd purchased a BMW R1100RT prior to getting the camera and they really went hand in hand. Travel, take pictures, ride amazing places... lather, rinse, repeat.

Lately though I haven't taken many photos. The last time I think I used the camera was in May while we were in Torrey, UT. It was an amazing trip, and I took some amazing photos. Problem is since then I haven't. I've lacked the time, the inspiration, and the subjects.

Photo Galleries


Last night I redid my old galleries page into a separate page for each gallery, along with a few teaser images. Take a look.

Torrey XI

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I've finally gotten my files from Torrey XI to the point where I wanted them. So, here's the gallery. This was an amazing trip. More to come in the near future.


Mac OS X RSS Readers

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I've decided that I need to make my web browsing and information collection more efficient in order to raise my level of productivity. I've been spending far too much time tracking websites of both professional and personal interest that I like. So, I decided it was time to check out RSS readers.

Additionally I've decided that there are a number of Blogs that I'd like to track that don't produce a lot of new content. Just a few articles per week at the most. It doesn't make sense to visit these sites every day, and I don't want to use something like Technorati. I really want to stay off sites that will get me browsing ad-hoc, and stay focused on the information I need to know about while ignoring the rest.

West "By God" Virginia

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For business reasons I needed to go to Fayetteville, WV last Friday, August 11. So, I loaded up the R1200GS and headed south.

I departed on Thursday, quite late, around 11:20 AM. My goal for the day was Staunton, VA. I accomplished that easily, got a motel room, dinner and a bottle of wine. (I must say I like the conversion to screw caps, they travel well on the bike.) In talking to the lady at the wine store I outlined my plans for the next day, and she said, "I would ride over four mountains in forty miles." Woohoo! Ooh la la! My kind of roads.

Well, I headed out US-250 from Staunton and road over those four glorious mountains. Great twisties, sweepers, small Appalachian towns, valley views, pastoral landscapes... what more could one ask for.

Apple Mac Pro

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Today I went to the Apple Store to see if they had a new Mac Pro. Low and behold they did. In the past our local Apple Store has not had the new machines this quickly. It was nice to see that Apple said it was shipping, and they had them in the stores. According to the sales lady they received them on Tuesday, just one day after the announcement. Good going Apple.

First impressions... It's hard to tell it apart from a G5 PowerMac. The give away is the FireWire 800 port on the front. There was little software on the machine with which to test it. I tried MS Office, which needs to use the Rosetta translation, and it was utterly imperceptible. I might even venture to say that it felt crisper in performance than Office does on my G5 Quad running native code. It doesn't make much sense to me, but there you have it.

Cute Apple Laptop Feature

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This morning Sylva discovered a neat feature on her PowerBook, it also worked on my iBook. If you hit Control-option-apple-8 it will reverse the video. It basically turns your display into a negative of what it really is. It could be helpful in areas with high glare, where the typical white backgrounds don't work well.