Pokey Didn't Come Home Last Night

So last night, the black cat (Pokey) didn't come home. We let them out during the day. This is my decision. Jennifer isn't crazy about the idea, but I like for the cats to be outdoors. They have so much more fun out there, killing mice, birds, grasshoppers. Say what you will, I believe cats are happier outdoors. The vets and the adoption agencies make you sign a pledge that your cat will never see the light of day, but I let the cats out anyway.

The problem is that, we live in an area with lots of wild animals. I have seen, on the property, black bears, elk, deer, foxes, mountain lions, and coyotes. As a rule, cats don't live that long up here. So, what I do is let the cats out during the day, and then lock them inside at night. In the morning, Jennifer lets the cats out when she leaves for school.

On the weekends, I let the cats out in the morning...they pounce on me and start crying as soon as the sun comes up.

That's sort of the routine, and it's worked well enough up to this point.

But then last night (Sat night), Wallie came in at night, but Pokey never did. She just never came home. I locked Pokey inside, and I kept checking all night for Pokey, but she never turned up. Normally, they show up on the front patio, and I let them in. That's how it goes.

But then, Pokey never came home. And Jennifer is so attached to these cats...she's told me that she doesn't want them to be outside, at all, ever - and that if anything happens to them, she'll just die. So, I let the cats out, but I know that, if one of them ever dies or disappears, we're going to be in for a serious meltdown.

I still remember the last time it happened...she had a cat named "Kitty" that didn't come home one night, and she asked me about it while we were grocery shopping down the hill. I told her the truth...that Kitty didn't come home, and she just fell apart in my arms in the middle of the grocery store. The people just parted around us.

And now, today, Jen comes up and I can't let Wallie out, because I'm not sure what even happened to Pokey. So Wallie is locked inside and Jen asks about Pokey and I'm just like....
"Pokey didn't come home last night..."

Jen just turns around and heads back up the stairs, starting the old, familiar meltdown. Just the saddest thing you've ever seen.

"Come on....let's go look for her," I offer. But like....it's just a futile attempt....who knows where she is...where she could have gone...I have no clue...I don't even know what we're looking for...a dead cat? A pile of bones? I don't even know, honestly.

I have so many vehicles there just aren't words...we get on a green Honda ATV and start slowly driving around the property...like...I have no idea where to go, or what we're looking for really...in the back, we jump a few deer...a mom and two spotted fawns. Then, as we get up close to the house, I can't get the ATV to downshift. It's like stuck in 3rd gear and I need it in 1st and I get get it to downshift.

And I hate this part...I do like zero maintenance on my toys and I'm not much of a mechanic...I'm mostly just lazy, I think...it's been acting funny for years and I've never bothered to fix it, or get it fixed. I finally get it into the right gear, and we drive up to the swingset...a large wooden swingset that came with the house.

"There's Timmy..." Jennifer offers, when she spots a black cat perched atop the wooden playground.

I look up to see a black cat, high up in the wooden parapets of the children's swingset and fort. It was the only condition I had when I bought the house..."the swingset and fort stays here...It comes with the house."

"I don't think that's Timmy....I think that's Pokey..." the two cats are difficult to distinguish. They're both as black as coal. Pokey is slightly smaller, has a faint white spot on her breast, and an occlusion in her right eye that Timmy lacks. But from a distance, they're hard to tell apart.

Finally, I realize what has happened. There's been another cat in the neighborhood, that has been going around and attacking our cats. First, he attacked Timmy. Now, he's attacked Pokey. Pokey spent the night up in the tree fort, because it was the safest position she could find to defend. She's got some scratches on her...behind both ears...behind both front legs...she's definitely been in a fight, and she spent the night in the fort, scared for her life. Too afraid even to come when I was outside calling for her to come in.

We bring Pokey back into the house, and are keeping her and Wallie inside for now. Any cat that comes onto my property and attacks my cats, is about to meet Allah.


Posted by Rob Kiser on September 7, 2014 at 10:36 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Jackson, Wyoming to SF, CA

One of my motorcycle buddies asked me how to get from Jackson, WY to SF, CA and, in my mind, there are two different general routes to get there. (Understanding that no motorcyclist with any sense would want to get on an interstate.)

1) Go through Craters of the Moon, Idaho, then head west to the coast, drop down the coast to San Francisco following The Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1 and 101). Here's a slideshow of what you'll see if you take the northern route: http://www.peeniewallie.com/2012/07/postcards-from-40.html

2) Go south out of Jackson, Wyoming, following the Snake River down through the Star Valley of Idaho, then down by Salt Lake City, Utah, then follow US Highway 50 and US Highway 6 across the deserts of Utah and Nevada. This road is known as "the loneliest road in America", but it is a beautiful drive. You will come over Tioga Pass into Yosemite National Park, a stunning park, then go west into San Francisco. Here's a video of what you'll see if you go this (southern) route: http://www.peeniewallie.com/2011/09/postcards-from-30.html

Once you get to San Francisco, be sure to see the city for a few days. Spectacular. When you leave the city, follow the coast south along the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1). You can go south as far as you like, but Los Angeles is a nightmare of traffic. The Pacific Coast Highway is nice all the way to Santa Barbara. At Santa Barbara, it turns into a 4 lane, and isn't as nice, IMHO.


Posted by Rob Kiser on September 1, 2014 at 10:29 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

To Hell and Back - The Dalton Highway

OK. New video. This shows us riding up the Dalton Highway, aka the Haul Road, from Coldfoot, to Deadhorse, Alaska, and back. Riders shown are Rob Kiser (KTM 990 Adventure), Remus Capota (BMW GS1200R), Gabriel Elprimo (BMW GS1150R), Erol Aynac─▒ (KLR650) , Tyson Brust (KLR650), and Tom Smith (KLR650).



Posted by Rob Kiser on August 31, 2014 at 6:11 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

iMovie 11 Sucks

So, I've got this stupid MacBook Air, and I'm trying to make a movie in iMovie (I know...I'm an idiot, right?) I thought Apple was supposed to be better. I was wrong, obviously. My project crashed on me. It won't let me created a movie, or "finalize" the project. Or anything really.

Instead, what I get is this: "Unable to prepare project for publishing. The project could not be prepared because an error occurred. (ParamErr: error in user parameter list)".

What a complete piece of shit. Like, do you think you could make the error message any more vague. Maybe try changing the message to "something went wrong". Fucking morons.

So, here's the deal
MacBook Air running OS X 10.9.4.
500 Gig Flash Drive.
217 Gig free out of 500 Gig. (So, storage shouldn't be an issue.)

I get this same message no matter what I try to do to the project. If I try to use "File - Finalize Project", same thing. It says "Preparing project" very briefly, and then, the dreaded message:

"Unable to prepare project for publishing. The project could not be prepared because an error occurred. (ParamErr: error in user parameter list)".

Nice. So, I can't do the following:
1) File - Finalize Project
2) Share - Export Movies. Size to export = HD 1080p (1920x1080). Click on Export. (Same error.)
3) Share - Export Movies. Size to export = Mobile (480x272). Click on Export. (Same error.)
4) Share - Export using QuickTime. Save exported file as "apple_sucks.mov". Export "Movie to QuickTime Movie". Save. This one actually didn't give me an error? But I also don't see that a file was created either.

OK. So, Icopied the Project from 'Project 2' to 'Project 4', and deleted about 2/3 of the video. Then, it would let me go to "Share - Export Movie - Mobile (480 x 272). Nice. So, my guess is that the video is too long or too large for this P.O.S. to handle? Not sure, but seems that way.

OK. So the video is cut down to 2:07 now. But I was able to do File - Export Movie - HD 1080p, and named it Apple_Sucks_207_1080p. Good job, Apple. Way to go. P.O.S.

Now, it says "Preparing project..., "Creating the HD 1080p movie...Time remaining about 13 years..."

Apple sucks. So. Hard.

OK. It appears to have exported successfully. Took about 10 minutes. File created is a 329 MB file named Apple_Sucks_207_1080p.mov. So, that's a start. I got something out of it, anyway.

So, we'll say "New Project 4" will be part one of the miserable video. Thanks, Apple. Thanks for that.

Now, I copied New Project 2 again...this time to New Project 6. Try to export it again... File - Export Movie - HD 1080p...same bullshit error message. Argh.

I'll try to make this one longer....3:28....name it Apple_Sucks_328_1080p. Preparing project - Unable to prepare project for publishing. Nice.

OK. Now, I'm trying Apple_Sucks_320_1080p. Seems to be working. Started at 3:57 a.m. Says it will take 13 minutes. So, should finish at 4:10 a.m.

I checked it at 4:18 am, and it was finished. This time, it made a file named Apple_Sucks_320_1080p.mov. This looks good.

Now, I copied Project 2 again, this time, as Project 7. Now, I'll delete the first 3:20 from the movie....So now, I try to export it as 3:21 - the end of the project. Says it needs more memory and to quit/exit out of iMovie and try again. So, I shut down iMovie, come back in, and it starts. So, this is Project 7 that I'm exporting. So, it looks like it will work, by breaking it into 2 pieces. Now, I'll try to import the 2 pieces into iMovie, mute the soundtrack, add a new sound track, and join the two videos together. That worked. Oh, the joys of using a P.O.S. like iMovie 11.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 31, 2014 at 2:57 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Haul Road

Here's a video I shot returning down the Dalton Highway from Deadhorse, Alaska. We drove 180 miles in a light rain in 37 degree F temperatures. In this video, I pass 4 other riders.

If I'm not mistaken, that's Gabriel Elprimo on the BMW GS1200R and Erol Aynac─▒ on the green Kawasaki KLR 650.

It was so cold that Remus stopped at a closed camp to warm up his hands. They made him a pot of coffee, and after he'd warmed up enough to where he thought he wouldn't lose his hands, we road off again, into the dull cold misery of Northern Alaska.

The rain didn't let up until we got to Atigun Pass, at which point the sun came out and I realized we were going to live.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 29, 2014 at 1:22 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Stabilizing Clips with iMovie 11

So, I'm using iMovie 11 on my MacBook Air to try to make a video. It's pretty painful, mainly because I've never used iMovie before. OK. I used it once before, but that was last year, and yeah.

I now have red squiggly lines on my video clip, so I think that means I successfully analyzed the video for image stabilization. The inspector says "Analyzed. Add clip to project to apply."

So, I drag the "Event" (the video at the bottom) to the "Project" (the top left part of the screen).

Now, I do see, in the far upper left-hand corner of the video in the project, an orange hand.


Hand with orange background: The clip is partially stabilized and required extra zooming, so some areas of your video may be cropped out.

Yeah, and it's zoomed in so far that the video is pretty much pointless. Nice.

Now, I select the clip in the Project, and double click it to open the inspector. Now, I turn off the stabilization in the inspector.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 28, 2014 at 5:55 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Kickstarter Campaign

So, last night, I was trying to record my video for the Kickstarter Campaign to send Marilyn Hartman to Hawaii, and my GoPro crashed. Never had any real problems like this with it before. I mean, it's a nightmare to work with....it's ornery, and curmudgeonly. Like, I never know what the thing is doing. It's impossible to keep the battery charged, so I basically keep it tethered via a USB cable. It needs its own power grid. They should make the things gas powered, for Christ's sake.

Like, it just seizes up and I have to open it and pop the battery out while I'm driving through a canyon with no hands. It's not ready for prime time, I can promise you that. And then, you try to see it up to work via WiFi and be controlled by the GoPro App in the iPhone, and now it's a bridge too far. Like, it works for about 11 seconds and then the whole nightmare melts down on you.

So, last night, it finally full-on crashed. Not sure what happened. It actually showed a little crash icon on the LCD display of the GoPro. Not sure if it's the MicroSD card that's the issue, or if it's the GoPro unit, or what. Now for some testing.

Update: So, I'm not sure what happened. It's working fine now. My best guess is that the battery died.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 28, 2014 at 10:45 AM : Comments (7) | Permalink

My First Kickstarter Campaign

"The world is but a canvas to our imagination" -- Henry David Thoreau


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 27, 2014 at 2:45 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

iMovie video of 2014 Alaska Trip

I've been playing around with iMovie some tonight. I've got 12,000 photos and hours of GoPro video that I have no clue what to do with so...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vN-sbjlbig This video covers only my first few days of the trip....from Denver to Yellowstone.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 27, 2014 at 2:14 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Our Greatest Fear - Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

Our Greatest Fear --Marianne Williamson


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 26, 2014 at 2:45 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Sic Transit Gloria

It looks like I need to order a larger map. I have a lot of maps up in the master bedroom. I pin them up and trace out my silly little motorcycle rides on them. But it looks like I need a map of all of North America at this point to trace out all my absurd little peregrinations. So, I'm thinking about ordering this beast and putting it up on the wall (along with the others, of course.)

http://www.allposters.com/-sp/1964-North-America-Map-Posters_i5157817_.htm as a 48" x 64" print.

Sic Transit Gloria - (Glory Fades)

One of the reasons I trace out my rides on maps and hang them on the wall is that there's a part of me that doesn't believe it happened. In a way, it's hard to believe that I even made these trips. I mean...I did make them...this wasn't all an exercise in Photoshp. The trips happened. But they're so far removed from work and my normal life that, in a way, it's hard to believe that they did happen. Tracing out my route on a map and pinning it up on the wall reminds me that I did do these things. That we are in control of our own destiny. That we can really do great things, if only we dare to try.

Here Be Dragons

Something struck me recently...someone said that we were born in the wrong time. That everything had already been discovered. That there was nothing left to explore. Meaning, as I understood it, that we don't have the opportunity to discover, as did Columbus, Balboa, or Magellan. But this point seems trivial to me. Maybe even contrite. So what if someone else discovered it first? As Hilary said, "what difference, at this point, does it make?" So what if we can't be the the first to discover Vancouver Island, the Arctic Ocean, or the Straits of Magellan? What of it? We still can discover the world for ourselves. The fact that others came before us is irrelevant. Go discover it now. For yourself. Don't worry that others found it first. Be glad that they've already been there, conquered the dragons, and paved the way for your arrival. Don't be silly. Get out and explore the world...if you've never discovered it, then, for all intents and purposes, it never has been discovered. It may not exist for all you know. May be a lie drawn on a map, like a mermaid or a dragon. Go explore it for yourself.


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 25, 2014 at 11:57 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Interesting Quote

"Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from." - Seth Godin


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Rocket Explodes on Launch at KLC on Kodiak Island, AK

This just in...a rocket exploded on takeoff at Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Eyewitnesses reporting a rocket at KLC (Kodiak Launch Complex) failed and exploded on takeoff. This happened just now (at approximately 12:28 a.m. Alaska Time on Aug 25, 2014).


Last week the Army announced it will conduct the second test of one of its hypersonic missiles in August.

Lt. Gen. David L. Mann, commander, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, told Congress last week that in August the Army expects to conduct the second Advanced Hypersonic Weapon Technology Demonstration. The results of this second test will determine the future of the program, which could include the U.S. Navy utilizing the new missile, according to Lt. Gen. Mann.

The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AWH) is part of the U.S. military's conventional prompt global strike (CPGS) program, which aims to give Washington the ability to strike any target on earth with a conventional warhead within an hour's time. According to the U.S. Army, "The AHW can be launched from the United States and can hit a target anywhere in the world. It can travel at speeds of Mach 5, about 3,600 mph, or higher."

Photo credit: Eric Dawson - Kodiak, Alaska - 2014

Photo credit: Eric Dawson - Kodiak, Alaska - 2014

Photo credit: Eric Dawson - Kodiak, Alaska - 2014

Photo credit: Eric Dawson - Kodiak, Alaska - 2014


Posted by Rob Kiser on August 25, 2014 at 3:41 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Into The Light - Michael Samsen

This is one of the guys we met on the trip. Apparently, his brother committed suicide a few years back, so he was riding to raise awareness for suicide prevention. He crashed his bike on the Dalton Highway as I recall, broke 5 ribs, flew back to Connecticut and recuperated for 5 months, then flew back out to continue his journey. I have a lot of respect for someone that has the tenacity, the chutzpah to fly back out to Alaska from the east coast to get back on a bike that has thrown them like a rented mule on the Dalton highway. Well done, Michael Samsen.


Categories: 2014AK

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 24, 2014 at 11:47 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink