Skew-T Meteorologist in Kansas City

fzf, ripgrep, git grep

Recent work has found me searching through large directory structures for files with sometimes less than obvious names. grep -r had become a go-to but it's not particularly speedy. Seeing a mention or two on Twitter led me to ripgrep which is specifically designed for such recursive file content searches. It also handily ignores files specified by gitignore and hidden files by default. Discovering ripgrep reminded me I had forgotten all about git grep which also allows for recursive searches, taking advantage of the git index, for files already in a repo.

fzf is a fuzzy finder, presenting an interactive way to search lists like filenames and git commits. Setting up aliases add useful interactivity to common tools, enabling quick full searching at the prompt in addition to the usual tab completion. As an example, searching recursively for a file, presenting a list of matches, and opening the selected in vim, bypassing the list if just one match.

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fe() {
  local IFS=$'\n'
  local files=()
  files=(
    "$(rg --files | fzf-tmux \
          --query="$1" \
          --multi \
          --select-1 \
          --exit-0
    )"
  ) || return
  "${EDITOR:-vim}" "${files[@]}"
}

Home Theater API

Taking advantage of a Black Friday sale, I upgraded my living room home theater with a new Onkyo receiver. I purchased my previous receiver, also an Onkyo, in grad school and it has served me well. It was lacking in some modern features, being connected entirely analog and required speaker wire pass-through to drive the subwoofer that was added to the setup a couple of years ago. The new unit features several HDMI inputs, HDMI-ARC output, and networked services like Spotify and Chromecast. Connected via wifi there is a phone app that can control most features.

Onkyo TX-NR676
Onkyo TX-NR676

Many such consumer devices rely on purely cloud based services so it was great to discover the API allows control over the local network. I'm only just starting to explore. There is a great Python module for accessing the API including device discovery, onkyo-eiscp. An MQTT bridge, onkyo2mqtt, is promising, able to transmit messages upon device actions like volume adjustment. The former also offers a straightforward command line tool:

onkyo --host x.x.x.x audio-muting=on

Discovering this ability to adjust audio remotely, it was nice to find pychromecast allows some measure of control over the diminutive media players. Apparently the Chrome dev tools can help determine app specific commands.

Blizzard

A strong winter storm Sunday brought many hours of blizzard conditions to Kansas City and about half a foot of snow, the second highest one day day November total. Roads have gradually improved though many areas have melted and refrozen with chilly overnight temperatures. Many flights were canceled at nearby Kansas City International and I lost power at the house for about an hour, luckily with the gas fireplace already lit.

A mid-afternoon KCI observation shows the storm had quite a punch:

KMCI 252001Z 35030G41KT 1/4SM R19R/1200V1400FT BLSN FZFG VV004 M02/M03 A2969 RMK AO2 PK WND 34041/2001 P0002 T10221033 $

California to Missouri

Map of the journey
Map of the journey

I arrived in the Bay Area to the terrible air quality resulting from the wildfires burning across Northern California, including the catastrophic Camp Fire. San Bruno Mountain was barely visible from SFO and downtown was a hazy outline from Treasure Island. It was great to catch up with friends and spend time in the East Bay and Monterey where I lived a total of 29 years.

Poor air quality in San Francisco
Poor air quality in San Francisco
Rental house in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Rental house in Carmel-by-the-Sea

From Carmel we meandered down Highway 1 along the coast, having a last lunch at Ventana high up in the hills near Big Sur. The winding road was the most scenic portion of the entire journey on a cloud free afternoon, south of the wildfire smoke. Turning inland just past Cambria, Highway 46 winds through the coastal hills through booming Paso Robles and out to the Central Valley. Past the torn up landscape of Lost Hills oil rigs by I-5 the drive was slow going behind trucks. We stopped at a 99 cent store parking lot in Wasco to feed dogs, unfortunately discovering in the dim light weeds sticking to their fur. After the trek through the Tehachapi Pass it was late getting into Barstow making it the first stop.

California coast near Big Sur
California coast near Big Sur
Spike, Snoopy's brother, lives outside Needles, California
Spike, Snoopy's brother, lives outside Needles, California

From Barstow through Needles and Kingman up into the mountains and Flagstaff went from the dry desert to mountain snow alongside the highway. It was getting late in eastern Arizona so we settled into Holbrook for the night, visiting the Petrified Forest the next day. The namesake fossils were formed when downed logs in rivers were buried with volcanic ash, replacing the internal structure with silica forming quartz, colored by trace iron oxide. This leaves wonderful large mineral deposits still retaining the shape of the originating trees. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad in the 1880s and later Route 66 brought tourism right through the park. On a chilly November morning we passed only a handful of other visitors.

Petrified wood
Petrified wood

I was unfamiliar with the movie The Petrified Forest, an Achie Mayo adaptation of a 1935 Broadway production. The story has little to do with the park beside being set a diner there during the Great Depression.

Painted Desert
Painted Desert

Being late in the year there was little fervor in mid November roadside tourism. Continuing on I-40 we made good time through Gallup (sopapillas!) and Albuquerque to Tucumcari. Once a busy rail junction and then a major stop on the Mother Road the town is most notable to me through its reference in westerns and is today fairly quiet. Del's offered some tasty enchiladas under their vintage neon sign.

Dorothy in Liberal, Kansas
Dorothy in Liberal, Kansas

From Tucumcari we turned northeast and across the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles through to Kansas. The wind swept High Plains were brutal while trying to walk the occasionally fussy dogs. The Wizard of Oz makes no reference to Dorothy's specific home town but Liberal, Kansas makes claim to the title, with statues across town, a museum, and a replica house. Stopping to have a late lunch we found options limited by a train blocking the main street, Kansas Ave, that didn't move out until after we had finished eating.

Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, was even larger than I had envisioned. We were able to find a nice hotel downtown just a couple of blocks from the river. From there it was a relatively quick segment back to KC including the entire length of the Kansas Turnpike.

Anchorage in October

Cargo plane taking off from Anchorage International
Cargo plane taking off from Anchorage International

Spent a week in Anchorage for work this month, to help with the future of aviation cloud and visibility forecasting in the state of Alaska. It was late in the season so many businesses were closed and the weather was more dreary than in previous visits. Still it was nice to take an extra day on the weekend before to go exploring on the Kenai Peninsula, before spending the next several days primarily in conference rooms. Dinner at Orso was great as always, and Bread and Brew was a great new suggestion from the hotel barman.

Fall foliage along Turnagain Arm
Fall foliage along Turnagain Arm