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Archived Entries from November 2006


Ick

This silly blog is in need of some serious work.

Using 1 pixel gifs to draw outlines of tables? SO 20th Century.

And the "previous posts" part at the top is taking up too much room. The width now is 700 pixels total. I wonder if I can safely go to 800. I would hate to do the 100% thing. I've always hated sizing pages by percentage. Surely most of the world is at 1024 by now (yeah, I know I can check those sorts of things but I usually have better things to do...).....

I've spent too much time lately at work AND at home making sure that programming-type stuff works and not enough time worrying about whether or not it looks okay.

Anyway. I need to go to bed....

Posted: Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 4:46 am
Mood: Beat | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


I Am Awful...

Interesting.

I haven't used the Nerdrium crappy blog administration tool from a Windows machine before. Why do I keep... Oh. Because on a Mac the <-- key is two keys wide and the \\\ that I keep hitting is above the "enter" key instead of the enter key on this thing taking up the area of like five keys.

Anyway...

The redhead is asleep on the couch upstairs (I should just leave all of the \\ in that I keep typing every time I try to hit the backspace key....). The kids are in bed asleep, and not thrilled that I told them that mom was worn out and probably wouldn't wake up from the couch before they fell asleep. It's not like they don't get enough love or anything....

I had an awful thought before I started this post, that will, well, be a bit tempered down (even though the Pinot Noir was quite tasty with dinner this evening). I'm a bit feisty.

I was toying with a new cafepress shirt. Something totally irreverent, but only on the Illinois campus. And only to a small minority. (The same minority that would hoot and holler about the "avatar" associated with this post...)

Eh. I *do* work there. I'll bite my tongue here. I still need to go back and do some "revisioning" of some past posts.

The Board of Trustees is on the same side I am. So is the State of Illinois (um, Chief Illiniwek is the symbol of the U of I--it's a state law, go look it up if you want to...).

The vocal minority is such a hassle. Because they are loud it obviously means that they know better. I don't like that arrangement.

I don't know. I should shut up and just go to bed.

Oskee wow wow.

:)

Posted: Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 4:27 am
Mood: Amused | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Poker

I talked myself down the other night about my final project for my algorithms class, and I think that I'm liking my brain being in control of my heart and emotions and not the other way around. For some things, at least. Or something.

I had lunch with my pal Tod today, and I sort of outlined how I was going to go about doing what I thought I needed to do, and he agreed that I was on the right track, and offered a few minor suggestions, but all-in-all, apparently I know what I'm doing. I wrote some code later today and think I'm in pretty good shape. And I still have until next Friday. My goal is to have it finished by this Friday. Even if the AI doesn't work perfectly, I think having it play through the deal and ante and everything else properly will be a good chunk of it.

I've done all the extra credit so far, so I have more points than are necessary, so I need to quit worrying about it. And I'm only half-worrying, and I think that's out of habit. I need to take my time, relax, and just get everything finished. I'm not 19 years old, and it all isn't due tomorrow.

And I'm not my mother, and if it all isn't 100% I think we'll live...

Of course, the redhead got a raise today. And next Spring she's getting a promotion and another raise. I said from the beginning that she's going to end up making more money than I do when this is all said and done. And that's fine with me.

But more money makes it that much harder to keep plugging away at school. And don't get me wrong, I'd rather have the more money, but, well, I don't know.

Anyway. And it's not like we're going to be loaded or anything--everything is just a slight bit easier. And we've had some tough times in the past 15 years or so. I'm just happy that things are turning around.

If I can keep the Aurora running until the promotion happens in the Spring, I won't need to worry as much about the payment on the Avalon. Hmm. Aurora. Avalon. Somewhat similar names. I'm such a dork.

Posted: Wednesday, November 29, 2006, 2:24 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Final Project

I was just dreaming about my final project for my Algorithms class. Well, that wasn't exactly what I was dreaming about, but that was the point of it, if that makes sense.

I need to not be freaking out. I have two full weeks to do this. I have all next weekend, if need be, although the plan all along has been to take care of it this week and be finished this Friday so I have all next week to iron out bugs if necessary.

It isn't due tomorrow. Repeat. It isn't due tomorrow.

Heh. CBS just put a headline on the screen "Iraq War Longer Than WWII" and the news guy (who I've never seen before, but that shouldn't be that big of a suprise as it's only 3:30 a.m....) said "The Iraq conflict is now longer than American involvement in WWII." Note that "American involvement in WWII" is not the same thing as the length of time WWII was being fought. Hey CBS, go tell people in Poland that WWII didn't start until 1941. Anyway.

Okay, I just finished my turkey sandwich. Back to bed, and hopefully maybe a few dreams about something other than school.

It isn't due tomorrow.

Posted: Monday, November 27, 2006, 9:27 am
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Holy Party, Batman...

I cooked the second turkey perfectly, thank you very much. Everyone loved the stuffing, and the redhead's potoates and gravy were absolutely awesome. Of course we also tore threw four or five bottles of wine and about three cases of beer.

Illinois won against Bradley, and the hated Leprechauns lost (which unfortunately probably means that we won't have an all-Big 10 football championship game, but oh well--I'd rather the Irish lose...).

Today we took the kids out to lunch. At one point I grinned because I was totally aware that we were sitting in a crowded restaurant and I was totally, completely relaxed. I wasn't stressed about all the people, or spending money on lunch, or anything.

Which reminds me--last night Aunt Molly jokingly produced the DVD of "An Inconvenient Truth" and asked if we wanted to watch it when everyone arrived. Of course, that started a wonderful argument between a few of our friends about the whole global warming situation. And you know what? I stayed out of it. They all went outside on the back deck and I stayed in the kitchen. I do my best to conserve electricity around the house (having to pay the bill every months sort of helps out with that) and if I had my druthers of course I'd purchase a car that got better mileage in lieu of one that got bad mileage. Am I going to go off the deep end and start dumping green dye on baby harp seals to make their pelts worthless to poachers? Or pull my little row boat in front of a Navy warship to try to prove a point? Doubtful.

Anyway. My point is really just that I'm doing a much better job of not getting worked up about stuff that I don't need to be getting worked up about. You go fight outside, and I'll sit in here and drink my beer.

So after lunch we went to Sofa King (not really what it is called, but I can't remember what its name is) and (get this) bought a leather sectional. And guess what? No stress at all. We also got a coffee table and then a couple of end tables for either side of our bed. 13 years of marriage and we will finally have matching tables on either side of the bed. Now I need to get busy and put the new floor in....

Okay, that's all for now.

Posted: Monday, November 27, 2006, 12:09 am
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Thanksgiving Redux, Part Deux

So in my infinite psychotic wisdom, I put the turkey in the oven at 5:30 this morning. I think I figured people would be here to eat between noon and 2:00, although we never really hashed out when people were getting here. The instructions said 5½ hours for a 20 pound turkey, so I figured 6½ for the thingy to pop up, plus another half hour to an hour before the thermometer actually said it was ready.

Oops--Darren just got here. At any rate--the first turkey finished at 11:30 so I went to the store and got a second one and it is in the oven right now.

Posted: Saturday, November 25, 2006, 8:49 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Thanksgiving Redux

We went out to the in-laws for Thanksgiving on Thursday. It was slightly awkward for me at first because Uncle Bill was there and I was under the impression that he wasn't going to be there. Oh well--Molly and I shared a few bottles of wine and after a short while all was well. And there was no ranting and raving this year, which was nice.

Yesterday I spent almost the entire day working in the back yard. It was 60 degrees outside, which was awesome. I got the water garden completely cleaned out, then I cut a "lid" for it using some OSB that my friend Jeff was going to throw away, and finally covered the whole thing with a few plastic bags to keep the moisture out throughout the winter.

Alex and I went out to the farm and got the Gator so that we could get the half-rotting pumpkins off of our front porch. We dumped them where Joyce had put hers, at one end of the small field in their backyard. The professors would laugh their butts off that we were dumping rotten pumpkins into the field where Papa plants sweet corn every year. When they do insecticide trials at the farm at work the way they attract the corn rootworms is from cucurbits, like pumpkins. I think Papa uses enough soil insecticide that he should be good, though. And it's just sweet corn--not anything that he makes a profit from. Listen to me like I know anything about farming and pest management and stuff. Heh.

After we returned the Gator we loaded Buddy into the car and headed back home. I raked leaves from around the back of the house and deck area and burned them in the fire pit while the kids ran around the yard with the dog. When I finally brought Buddy back to the farm later in the afternoon he didn't even complain when I got ready to leave (normally that's the only time he barks--if he thinks he hasn't gotten enough attention). Instead he crawled up on the deck, gave Grandma and I a short glance, then lowered his head and went to sleep.

Well I felt like I raked and raked and raked and burned and burned and when I was "finished" (am I ever really finished?) I looked around and it didn't really look any better than it did when I started. Sheesh.

I also finally dismantled the garden and put the remains of the plants on the compost pile (and I really need to get busy on that compost pile--it needs to be turned badly). I stacked the tomato cages and pulled up all the pepper guard things as well.

I finally managed to tear Darren away from World of Warcraft long enough to come over with his truck so we could haul a couple of loads of tree branches (from when I trimmed the green ash tree a wile back) off to the city brush pile. That made a word of difference. I had been cutting it up piece by piece and stacking it for kindling for when we have weenie roasts, but I finally came to the conclusion that I was being a bit over the top in my assessment of exactly how much kindling we could possibly need for the next 20 years, and finally decided that I'd rather just get the rest of it out of the yard and out of sight.

So I feel better about the back yard, even if I don't know that it looks much better than it did. I'm quite sore this morning (I felt awful last night--I'm getting old...). Darren stuck around and we had a few beers before he headed home. No need for staying up late partying last night, because.....

Today we're doing Thanksgiving again. Except this time we're doing it at our house, and having our friends over. In fact, the only reason I'm up this early is because I woke up at 5:00 to put the turkey in the oven. I bought the biggest one I could find at the store to make sure we have enough food (just over 20 pounds). I'll make a couple of batches of stuffing later this morning, and the redhead is going to maked mashed potatoes and gravy as well. I like hanging out with the family and all, but, well, at least today Molly and I won't be the only ones with a glass of wine in our hand, if that makes any sense...

Hmm. The turkey should be done at 11:00 or so (which really means noon if you've ever cooked a turkey--it always takes longer than the directions say, and half the time even when the little thingy pops up the temperature on the inside near the bottom isn't quite warm enough...). We've got three football games to watch today, capped off by USC vs. Notre Dame. Wow, and they both have racists mascots--Trojans and Leprechauns. How hostile and offensive. We'll be rooting for the folks on the west coast, of course. I can't stand Notre Dame....

Anyway. I suppose I ought to go back to bed, but I think since Alex is still asleep maybe I'll take the opportunity to play a little Oblivion before he gets up....

Posted: Saturday, November 25, 2006, 11:51 am
Mood: Tired | 2 comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Thanksgiving Break Is Here

I actually left work at lunch today, went and ate at the redhead's office, and then went home. I chatted with the boss about a few things before I left, and I don't care what the redhead says, my boss is the coolest. Note--she's still at work as I'm writing this...

I picked up the kids from school, played some Oblivion, and then the kids and I headed outside to play. They've been playing wiffle ball and kickball and I've been giving the spirea their late-fall haircut. The fire has just about burned itself out, finally.

Okay, I need to go order the pizzas for dinner. I'm very much looking forward to turkey day tomorrow and the relaxing four-day weekend. And after that I need to get busy on my semester project for my algorithms class.

Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2006, 10:28 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Emerald Ash Borer

So I'm sitting here, having a beer, resting a bag of ice water on my head because my mysterious evening overheating is taking place, half-watching that movie with Sean Connery and Blade in it, and reading the Tribune on-line. And the Tribune web site has an article about Emerald Ash Borer.

And I'm concerned about Emerald Ash borer not just because I work on web sites that deal with that kind of stuff, but because I have two ash trees in my back yard, one of which I'm fighting to save because I stupidly dumped chlorinated pool water all over the ground around it, and the other of which I planted to replace a gross crab-cherry (or some such) tree and that I intend to eventually be a nice partner to the already existing green ash.

From the article: "The new quarantine...takes effect Dec. 1..." Why not just make it take effect now?

Responsible wood-producing people are already aware of this whole problem and are hopefully already following protocols without governmental restrictions. But to all the non-responsible people (that sell firewood or whatever--and I'm certainly not saying that everyone that sells firewood is a villian, of course), this sure sounds to me like "we've got about two weeks to get all of that wood over the border so let's move it all now!" Heck, I'm starting to sound like an environmentalist. And you all thought I was a big-ol' mean Republican. P'shaw.

Heck, the airport people can at any given moment say "you can no longer wear socks on a plane because of terrorist threats." Why can't other governmental folks just say "starting right now you can't bring firewood across state lines" (or whatever their new ban/rule is...). Why give a date? To soften the blow for wood distributors?

I don't know. Am I being too sensitive? "The FDA has learned that 'Chemical A' in baby food is causing infants to die. Starting in three weeks 'Chemical A' will no longer be allowed to be used in the production of baby food." It is a problem. Stop that problem now.

Over-sensitive? Maybe.

Hey, I think my internal core temperature is going back down. What the hell is the deal with these hot flashes?

Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2006, 3:58 am
Mood: Curious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Fifty Degrees

And it's almost Thanksgiving--how cool is that? I think tomorrow I'm going to come home early (like before lunch) and dig up the huge lilac bush (the one that caused all the problems with my moronic neighbor...) and split it up. I'll put part of it on my side of the fence so there will be NO question as to whose property it is on, and then bring maybe the other two parts out to the farm and plant them out there where they can have plenty of sun and grow to their hearts content.

I will probably also dig up the mock orange and move it out to the farm as well--I already replanted several chunks of it in my backyard so I'll just take the rest out to my mother-in-law.

Why am I doing this? Because I plan to replace the chain-link fence with a privacy fence. And I'm going to apply to the city for a variance so I can put the fence just inside the property line (instead of the three or more feet inside that it is now). And to do that, I need to move those two bushes.

And my neighbor will be working tomorrow, and the weather will be nice, so I can hopefully get back there and get them out of the ground and moved before he's even aware of it.

But now I'm ready for Spring...

And it isn't even Winter yet. Sigh.

In other news.... I had to go to Pamida in Tuscola today to pick up a prescription. Want to know how to steal expensive stuff from Pamida? Go find the expensive electronic item you want and stick it in your pants. Then grab a $5.99 bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz and take it to the check-out. The young woman will scan it, run it by the thing that's supposed to take the charge (or whatever it is) off of the security sticker thing that, yes, they have on their $6 bottles of wine, and then ask you for payment. After you pay simply walk out of the store. When the alarm goes off, turn around and look confused and act like you're going back into the store. Then when the young lady says "don't worry about it--you're okay" you can leave with your fancy piece of electronic equipment and your bottle of wine and head home.

Of course I didn't steal anything from Pamida. Duh.

But I did buy some Shiraz, and the alarm did go off, and sure enough, as I turned to go back into the store she told me to just go ahead.

Explain to me what the hell the point of those alarm things is if they aren't going to do anything about it when they go off? Surely someone not-as-honest-as-me has figured out the scenario I just described. I mean really. "Go ahead, you're okay." Just assuming that it is the bottle of wine that set off the alarm?

The world is a funny place, I guess. Oh well.

Okay, I need to run to the store--the redhead seems to want linguini with white clam sauce for dinner....

Posted: Tuesday, November 21, 2006, 10:41 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


As Long As I'm At Home....

...and Alex is hogging the PC so I can't play Oblivion (and he's level 4 now and I'm still level 3--stinker!) I may as well give an update of the weekend.

Saturday afternoon I went to Darren's house and watched the Ohio State vs. Michigan game along with Steve and Jeff. Afterwards Shannon got home from her basketball game (or whatever it was) and I went and picked up the wife and kids, and we had dinner and, well, more beer (not the kids, of course!). It was a good time, of course. Quite relaxing.

Sunday we took the kids out to lunch at Ruby Tuesday and then went to Old Navy to get them new winter coats. On the way home dad took a huge roundabout way to get to the local Toyota dealer ("Where are you going" was the mantra for that part of the trip--it didn't occur to me to go there until we were headed in the other direction). I think I'm going to make a nice compromise about the whole car thing. I think it's probably irresponsible to buy a new Lexus at this point, whether I could afford the payment or not. We're still saving for college (even if it will be half-price!) and I don't need to be driving around in a $50,000 car until I have college completely taken care of. And while they are quite dependable as far as automobiles go, I still can't see paying over $20,000 for something that has almost 100,000 (if not more!) miles.

So we went and looked at a Toyota Avalon. I don't like the way Camrys look, and while they are ecologically responsible, I still want a car big enough that I feel safe carting the family around. Here in "these parts" I worry more about getting blindsided by someone in a pickup truck than I do about a frontal collision with a Prius. As I've mentioned, I like my big black luxury car that goes fast and has leather and a sunroof and is loaded. Having one that doesn't have a lit "Service Engine Soon" light would be a total bonus. The Avalon starts at under $30,000, and the one I want is a bit more than that. Sure, still not exactly cheap, per se, but it'd be new, and I'd have it paid for well before we got to the 100,000 mile mark. And I'm still thinking in terms of a car that needs to still be reliable for someone to inherit and take to college (then maybe we'll go with the whole Lexus thing....). The Avalon gets decent mileage, is still big and accelerates well, and best of all Consumer Reports gives it their highest rating.

A few more things still need to happen before this plunge gets taken. While I could afford the payment starting tomorrow, there's still things I'd rather take care of beforehand.

If I can just keep the poor Aurora running a little while longer....

Posted: Monday, November 20, 2006, 10:35 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


The End?

I've obviously blown the post-every-day-in-November thing, and I've been debating the usefulness of this blog for the future as well. Now that I've fixed just about everything else in my life that needed to be fixed, my radar has been almost completely quiet. Other than work and school I don't have too much to worry about. Oh, and the stupid car, but I don't worry about that much either. I've always justified blogging from work on several grounds: it only takes a few minutes at a time and I promise that I work my full 40 hours every week, if not more; a lot of what I write about (both in my blog and in "articles") has to do with stuff that, well, I specifically need for work and put on this web site solely for the purpose of my finding it later, for work (and I pay for this out of my own pocket); and lastly, I don't gripe about co-workers (I don't really have any gripes to begin with, I guess, to be honest) so shouldn't have to worry about getting Dooced.

But something happened a while back, that really has nothing to do with me (actually, it absolutely has nothing to do with me) but when it happened I heard about it I became hyper-aware of the fact that my computer at work isn't my computer, and that at any point in time my boss and the department head could stroll into my office and ask me to stand up from my desk while they went through everything on my hard drive(s). The computer is property of the state of Illinois. So is the bandwidth I use. And while reading cnn.com (not that I would ever do such a thing at work) using state assets might not be that big of a deal, somehow I feel that my doing something that is so personally connected to myself is no longer that bright of an idea. Paranoid? Maybe.

I've always held that it is pretty much impossible to get fired from the big U, and I know my boss is squarely in my corner, but when it call comes down to it, I'd just as soon not have to put that theory to the test, especially not for me personally. My job is too good now. I make too much money now. The future is too bright. I need to do everything on Earth to keep this going just as it is now.

So is this the end? Should I just file this whole blog thing away and be done with it? Go back to an account on blogspot?

Meditate on this, I will.

Posted: Monday, November 20, 2006, 10:19 pm
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


SpongeBob

I'm still taking stock in this whole blogging thing. I think some revisionist history and Unix timestamp manipulation might be in order. And of course, that last sentence would probably go away as well. Heh.

Work was good today. I was busy as all get-out again (like a broken record...) but it makes the day fly by. And today was a Bamba day, so that's always good.

My head is so full of stuff to talk about but I don't feel like typing. Isn't that weird?

Our son is staying over at a friend's house tonight because it is the friend's birthday. Yesterday the redhead and I finally stopped by WalFar on the way home to get his present--our son has been bugging us all week. We got him (as instructed) Marvel Ultimate Heroes (or something like that). I think we may be getting that for Christmas as well. I'm also a comic book geek at heart...

When we got home the redhead told Al that they didn't have the game, but that her cell phone had died, so she couldn't call him and let him know. So we just got him "Shark Tale." "He'll like Shark Tale, right?" We had rehearsed this lie in the car, but I couldn't stop laughing so I needed to be out of the room when she talked to him. How funny. Alex was fooled, even if only momentarily.

So I left work early today so that I could wrap the game and get Al's stuff together to bring over there. I called the redhead and asked her what I needed to bring for him. She suggested a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt for him to sleep in, as well as his pillow and a sleeping bag. "But bring a camping sleeping bag, because I think he's starting to get embarrassed about the Star Wars one..."

What? Embarrassed about the Star Wars sleeping bag? For shame! I'm 38 years old and I love Star Wars. I wish I had a Star Wars sleeping bag when I was that age!

So I brought one of the "good" sleeping bags, but as I was going through his weirdly-arranged dresser looking for sweat pants I opened his pajama drawer and there they were--his SpongeBob Square Pants bright yellow pajamas.

As I dropped off the PS2 game, the sleeping bag, pillow, t-shirt, and sweatpants, I spoke for a bit with the mom of the friend. After I assured her that no, no matter how crappy our mayor is I am not running for mayor, I relayed the story (in front of both boys as well) about the Star Wars sleeping bag and what the redhead had said.

And then I mentioned that I was going to bring the bright yellow SpongeBob pajamas.

Unfortunately, the boy doesn't squirm much. Oh well. I should have brought the SpongeBob pajamas...

Anyway.

I'm tired of typing....

Posted: Saturday, November 18, 2006, 2:04 am
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Well I Wasn't Grouchy...

Let's see what my crappy blogging software does with that title. Actually, it might all work out okay except I bet the crappier-than-it-should-be rss feed thing will be screwed up for a while.

Work was good today. I'm about finished getting the rest of the conference stuff up and going. The registration stuff is working as it should. I'm glad I took the time last year to step back and do it the way it needed to be done. I was even pleasantly surprised to find that the way I set up the individual pages for each speaker was going to work quite seemlessly this year. Hmm. I'm not sure I like that last sentence (not the "Hmm"--the sentence before that....).

I'm nervous about blogging from work now. Which is odd. Something must have flipped this switch recently. I don't say things about people from work that are bad. I don't gripe about my job. I feel like I'm at some sort of crossroads where everything is so good that somehow this is going to bring it all crashing down.

And for Pete's sake--we have professors using University resources to send letters to Illinois high school students telling them not to come to college here because of a halftime performance at football games.

I guess I realize that I just don't have that much clout. Or something.

I like to blog. But I travel down a curve that brings me from thinking that "it's all good" and that my job is to be "on the web" and that if I get to work early and leave work late and don't get breaks and spend 2 minutes blogging what harm is there and that I plan to use this blogging "sofware" (heh) in the future at work when we (hopefully) make The Bulletin a blog.... to thinking about our Governor who is probably going to go to jail yet I have to complete yearly ethics training and I had better not even think about doing anything to violate that.

And now I'm nervous about even posting this.

I need to just make this whole thing go away....

Posted: Friday, November 17, 2006, 4:01 am
Mood: Fair | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Lack of Patience

I sure got crabby in the last few minutes....

The redhead was watching a movie called "Screamers" on one of the movie channels that we get, and I made some comment to the effect that Peter Weller, of RoboCop fame, also taught classes (I said at Cornell, but it's actually Syracuse). Well, I found out it was Syracuse after looking him up on Wikipedia.

Then I clicked on the Wikipedia link for the movie itself. And there was a typo on the page--someone had written "crys," and the past tense of "cry" is "cries" (of course). So I signed up for an account and edited the page.

I went through their "what to do" tutorial that makes it pretty clear what you should and shouldn't use Wikipedia for.

And one of their huge points is that you should never make a page for any person that doesn't have any real "significance" and you certainly shouldn't make a page for yourself.

Of course, I have an old acquaintance that has done just that (and edited it dozens of times). And I'm not on really good terms with this old acquaintance, as luck would have it, and it sort of irritates me.

I need to let this flow over me and go away. What difference does it make to me? I don't have a Wikipedia page, and I don't want one. And I would never write one for myself. If other people want to make their own pages, have fun with that.

Anyway.

Posted: Thursday, November 16, 2006, 2:04 am
Mood: Grouchy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Surviving

Work has been a total continuation of last week--busy, busy, busy. It's good, though, because it makes the days (and weeks) go by faster.

I had to get the online registration going for our two conferences. I'm glad I spent the time I did last year thinking it through and making it so that the system could easily be changed to be used year after year.

I got caught up in both my classes last night, which makes me feel a lot better. I have only one or two assignments left, and then it's down the home stretch. I was all but ready to quit school a few days ago, but then my mother's stubbornness manifested itself, and I finally got my act together again. Besides, I said right here on my blog that I'm going to finish all this, so it isn't like I can just quit, right?

Unfortunately, I don't have too much motivation to blog much. I'm looking forward to having a break around Thanksgiving.

Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2006, 2:21 am
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Busy Week

Well I guess I've totally blown the NaBloPoMo "post every day in November" thing. Oh well. And I was going to post yesterday when I thought about it but just wasn't in the mood.

This week is going to be a bruiser--even worse than last week was. Probably no carpooling as I'm guessing I'll be getting an early start every day.

I didn't get any of my homework done on Saturday as I promised I would. Ooops. But I did take the EGR valve off the Aurora, cleaned it out, and replaced the gasket with one that has a little screen to prevent more crap from getting up in there. And the car seems to be running fine, I guess.

Yesterday we took a group of kids to Skateland in Savoy. I would have thought we were going to be the only people there. I mean, who roller skates anymore? Boy was I wrong. The place was totally crowded. There were even creepy adults that were there by themselves, just skating around and hanging out. How weird is that? I don't know--the redhead and I both just thought that was odd. And some of the older (and by older, I don't mean old, I mean people around our age---but older than little kids) would skate backwards, and skate with their hands in their pockets and be all cool, and bop to the music and stuff. Um, you can think you're cool all you want. Need I remind you that you're on roller skates.... 1975 called...

I'm awful.

Anyway. I need to get registration working this morning. Hopefully it shouldn't take too long. I have to get caught up with my homework this evening.

Posted: Monday, November 13, 2006, 1:48 pm
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Trying to Avoid a Tirade

I'll try, but I doubt I'll succeed. Can I apologize in advance?

Tomorrow the Fighting Illini football team take on Purdue for the last home game of the season. Sure, our team has a not-real-good record (and as I joked with the redhead, we're so bad that the coach of Michigan State got fired partly because they lost to us earlier this year...). But we have played much better this season than the past few years. We should have lost 72-0 to #1 Ohio State, but instead only lost 17-10. That's all but a win as far as I'm concerned.

So tomorrow is the last home game. And while a lot of other people are denying it, I'm guessing tomorrow is the last time Chief Illiniwek will dance at Memorial Stadium. I was actually going to buy tickets and take the family to the game, but they are $25 each! I like the Chief and all, but not $100 worth. Heh....

Many of those who have portrayed the Chief in the past have rolled into town this weekend. The writing is on the wall.

I still don't understand why Fighting Illini is offensive, but Spartans isn't. Or Trojans. Or Fighting Irish. And the next person that says "non sequitur" to me I'm going to punch. Okay, not really. But it isn't a non sequitur. If I said that all team mascots should be banned because all are offensive (assuming our symbol is offensive), that would be a non sequitur. But when the argument is made that our symbol is based on a race of people, and the very fact that it is based on a race of people makes it racist logically means that any mascot/symbol that is based on a race of people is inherently racist. Somebody point out the non sequitur to me. Nobody said anything about Indians. Just that it was racist because the symbol depicts a race of people. The Spartans are a race of people. So are the Irish. Explain to me how Chief Illiniwek is racist but Notre Dame's leprechaun isn't. Consider that the anti-Chief crowd had to search far and wide to finally find an Indian that was willing to agree to be "anti-Chief" because most of them have other problems on their minds and other more important things to worry about. You don't have to look far and wide to find someone of Irish descent who is offended by the Leprechaun. I'm right here.

Start in on the "non sequitur" business, and I'll punch you.....

Anyway.

Beluga whales. Relax. Calm back down. Far more important things to worry about.

Notice that the Dems have taken control of the House and Senate and nobody is throwing a fit, carving into wet cement, writing on bathroom walls, and otherwise being obnoxious? Maybe something to think about the next time the ugly "red people" rear their heads again and vote the uber-religious folks back into office....

So where was I......

Oh. Duh. Installing mhash was a snap. It was two RPMs that were easily downloaded and installed. I'll be ready to take credit card payments Monday morning.

I promised myself I'd get caught up with school tomorrow. I hope I'll be in the mood to do so--I haven't been all week.

The Aurora made it back and forth to work today with no issues--and I was going to go to Autozone after work and get the codes read, but I wasn't in the mood and just went home. I think tomorrow I'll remove and clean out the EGR valve and maybe then drive up to Autozone and see what the code reads and hopefully it will read that the EGR is having problems and I'll have already fixed it. My poor car....

My boss made it back safely from Austria, which is good. He said that the scariest part of his trip was the flight from O'Hare in Chicago back to our regional airport. Apparently the pilot of their Embrauer regional jet took off too soon after a "big" plane and the turbulence from the big plane shook the heck out of them right after they left the ground. Yeah, I'm glad I don't have to fly anywhere anymore....

Thank goodness this week is over.

Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2006, 5:47 am
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mhash

Uh oh.

The pre-compiled version of PHP that comes with RedHat ES 4 doesn't have mhash installed by default.

Didn't I just do this though?

I have to have registration working by Monday morning.

And without mhash, none of this crap works.

Oh boy...

Posted: Friday, November 10, 2006, 3:17 pm
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Yay, Friday!

Now if this past week hasn't been a testament to my "cure" from therapy, I don't know what is. The roller coaster bottomed out, but I was never completely despondent. This has been a rough week. I'm overwhelmed with school, and completely slammed at work. But I let it all go when I left the office each day, enjoyed the evenings with my dang kids and wonderful wife, and while it wasn't completely thrilling, I still managed to make it through each day at work relatively unscathed. And now it's Friday and the coaster is climbing again, and I can look back and be happy that it wasn't any worse than it was, or something.

I did some research the past few days and found that the problem with the Aurora is likely a clogged EGR valve. The EGR system takes heated exhaust and mixes it with intake gases so that when the car is cold, and the outside air is cold, the exhaust gases (which are hot as soon as the car starts) help heat them up enough so that the car runs more efficiently. Or something like that. Well the valve closes when the engine RPMs are low, because too much exhaust will obviously make it harder for the gas/air mixture to be combustible (wow, that's the third trip to m-w.com for this post, and for the record, I was right all three times....). Anyway. Tomorrow I need to remove the EGR valve and clean it out with some carbon cleaning stuff and then blow it out with the air compressor (which I haven't used yet--should be fun!).

So I got up at the butt crack this morning and drove to work, figuring that if it died at stop signs at least there wouldn't be many people on the road and I wouldn't look that stupid, and having a better understanding of what's wrong (and that it isn't necessarily a terminal condition) made me feel better as well. And after all, what's the worst that happens? I break down somewhere between home and work. At worst I'm 15 minutes from either of them, and half the people in Villa Grove work at the University (okay, not that many, but it is a lot...). And it's 50 degrees out, so it isn't like I'd freeze to death or anything.

But I made it here without the car dying once. And it's weird--I've driven the wife's car every day this week, and while I like her car, and it's nice to drive a new car, there's something about the Aurora. It excites me, and I know that sounds corny, but it does. I wanted to drive 90 mph the whole way to work. I'd resigned myself to a Civic, but I just don't know that that's going to cut the mustard. I'm such an ugly Republican. Except I'm not religious. And I think gay people (or anyone else, for that matter) should be allowed to get married if they want to. And I think it's none of my business what women do or don't do with their bodies. I still think anti-Chief people are way off course, of course, but there's no need to get into that.

Anyway. I'm half-giddy. How nice to get to work before the sun comes up.

Speaking of work, I have a full day ahead of me, and the whole reason I came in early was to get a jump on the day, so I'll wrap this up and hop to it.

Posted: Friday, November 10, 2006, 1:58 pm
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Thursday Post-Lunch

Well today is improving, at least. I felt awful this morning, and wasn't even really in the mood for lunch, but now that I've eaten something (Mexican food from Dos Reales, of all things) I feel much, much better.

Maybe it was just the company of the redhead that caused the improvement in my health and demeanor. Something like that. (Just kidding honey...).

This week has been a bear. And tomorrow the big boss gets back from Austria. I'm sure everyone else will be clamoring to bother him with whatever, but I think I'll just stay out of the way unless he comes looking for me.

Hey, it's Thursday. That means My Name Is Earl and The Office are on! They're closing the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. Mindless television is so wonderful...

So I went to an automotive forum and posted about the problem with my Aurora. I got a reply that it is probably my EGR valve, which makes sense. If it is stuck that means I'm getting too much exhaust when I'm idling, which kills the engine. Of course, what is a $40 part for most cars costs, surprise, surprise, $165 for the Aurora. BUT I also read on the 'net that I can probably remove it and clean it out with some sort of carbon cleaner and that should do the trick. Looks like I have another project to do--I'm not giving up on this car just yet...

Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2006, 8:08 pm
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Blech

I think my cold is in its last throes, but for some reason my stomach is upset and I feel worse than I did earlier this week. And I'm grouchy because I have too much to do. And I'm behind in my classes and am going to have to spend the better part of Saturday getting caught up. And I need to figure out what the deal is with my stupid car.

Grrr....

So one last thought about the 2006 elections, and then I'll let it go. And this isn't anything controversial, to be sure, I'm just curious. CNN is listing that Dems have locked up 50 Senate seats to 49 for the Republicans, with one still up in the air (I think not for long, though). I thought that was odd, because I had thought that Lieberman was winning pretty handily the other evening, and sure enough, I checked this morning and he had won.

And he didn't run as a Democrat. He ran as an Independent, didn't he? (I think CNN lists his party affiliation as "other.")

I realize that he was a Democrat. But technically he isn't right now. He lost the Democrat primary and nomination. So shouldn't it be 49 (soon to be 50) to 49 to 1?

Again, I'm just curious. Especially considering the "OMG the Dems have control of the Senate" mentality, when this guy wasn't even Dem enough to get the nomination of that party. I guess I don't understand how he gets shunned by his own party, runs as an Independent, yet now he's counted as "one of them" again.

Curious....

Okay, get ready for another awful day at work...

Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2006, 3:29 pm
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Elections

Well, the awful elections are now over with. Actually, the elections aren't awful, but the political ads surely are. If I hear the words "sweetheart job" one more time I'm going to puke. Not to mention "What's she thinking?" Sheesh.

We need an electoral college for our state. The Democrat governor won with 1.5 million votes to 1.2 million for his challenger. A difference of less than 300,000 votes.

Now get this, in just the City of Chicago, he received 460,000 votes to her 90,000 votes. Not the greater Chicagoland area, and not all of Cook County. Just Chicago.

Other than a few scattered counties at the western and southern edges of the state, he lost almost every other county in the State. But because Chicago wants him, we all are stuck with him.

Oh well. Funny that Democrats won control of the House, they are about to win control of the Senate as well, and what's the number one important story on every radio station this morning?

Brittney Spears is getting divorced.

Is that what we've been reduced to? What a country....

I'm just happy that the mudslinging is over. For a while, at least.

Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2006, 4:08 pm
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mysql.sock

I don't need to move it, it just gets ignored. I guess I was more worried about that message way-back-when the last time I was messing with this.

Cool. I need to start backing up everything again this way. Production server to test server (which is in my office) to the 300 gig drive in my G4 at home to the 320 gig drive in my Fedora server at home. Hell, I'll backup to my file server as well.

Okay, off to get something to eat...

Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2006, 5:07 pm
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Progress

Well I voted, showered, got dressed, put the jeans in the dryer, got the kids up, made breakfast, took them to school, registered for my two classes for Spring, and cleaned up the kitchen.

Today is going to be rough. I'm trying to have a positive attitude, trying to assure myself that getting up and getting out of the house will make me feel better, but this is a rough bug. The whole left side of my head is stuffed up--my ear is clogged and I can't hear out of it, my eye feels swollen, and I can't breathe out of my nose. And that's with the help of sinus medicine and whatever other stuff I ingested a couple of hours ago. Blech.

So hopefully being at work for the day will do me some good. I have a lot of work to do, not the least bit of which is get the on-line registration stuff for the conferences up and going again so people can pay on-line on our web site. Before any of that happens, though, I need to get my daily database back-up running again. I wasn't as worried about it when people weren't entering things on their own--for the database-driven web sites that I have I can just periodically back the database up manually since it doesn't change that often.

I used to go into the mysql data directory and selectively backup two or three different directories of data, but I'd love to just backup the entire data directory at once. The problem is that mysql.sock lives in that directory, and that can't be backed up while mysqld is running. Now I could turn the service off, back it up, then turn it back on at like 1:00 in the morning or something (which is what I think the department does...) but if for whatever reason it doesn't come back up, that means it is off until somebody gets to work. Now, there shouldn't be any reason for it to not come back up, but I'm more of the school that if it is running, let's just leave it alone.

I think what I can do is shut down mysqld, move mysql.sock up a directory, then put a symbolic link to it back in its original location. Theoretically when I restart mysqld, it should find mysql.sock just fine. But the tar command won't do anything more to it than back-up the symbolic link--that is, it doesn't (I think) follow the link and try to back up mysql.sock. So I think that should work. I'm going to try it on my test server first, just to make sure.

And once that's done, then I can go back to dealing with the registration stuff.

Okay, more to write later about all of this, but I think the redhead is ready for work, so it's time for us to leave home...

Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2006, 2:31 pm
Mood: Blah | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Election Day

Well nobody puked last night, so that's good....

I changed the furnace filters yesterday and have had the furnace fan running since then, hoping that maybe I'll suck up enough of whatever is airborne to at least help with everyone's cough. I'm sure it isn't the slightest part of the problem, but any little thing I can do makes me feel better, at least.

I'm nursing a NyQuil hangover at the moment, having a bit of a nagging back-of-the-skull headache. And of course I feel like I've been hit by a bus as well. Hopefully the kids will feel okay when they get up this morning because I really need to be in the office today... And most importantly, for the sake of all of us, I hope the redhead feels better.

I started a load of jeans at about 5:20 this morning, so hopefully I can get them in the dryer and have them ready before anyone gets up. I don't know the exact status of the jeans situation, but that tends to be a "deal breaker" in the morning sometimes, so I figured I'd do whatever I could to head that off at the pass and help us have a good morning. ("I don't have any clean jeans!!"....) She'll have plenty to choose from. I emptied and reloaded the dishwasher, so the kitchen is picked up at least. Anyway. I'm rambling.

I think the polls open in about 20 minutes, so I may go vote now and get it out of the way. I'm still undecided about a lot of things. Our race for governor is the worst one to think about. As I've mentioned in the past, it seems to me that everything runs most smoothly when there is a Democrat in the White House, Republicans control the Congress, and we have a Republican governor. Right now we have a Republican in the white house, a Democrat governor, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Congress will be controlled by the Dems by days end (right? or just the Senate?). Anyway.

The problem is that Illinois happens to have a really huge city that some of you might have heard of called Chicago. And they are very (historically) blue collar, old school politics, and overwhelmingly Democrats. And the rest of the state, which is mostly agriculturally based, are Republicans. And normally we have enough people in the suburbs to vote Republican and keep a Republican in the governor's mansion. But our last governor did some things he shouldn't have, and of course the folks up north took the ball and ran with it and have blamed the entire Republican party ever since (and enough down-state folks bought into it, I guess).

So now ol' Rod is up for re-election. And I think even talking about it is almost a moot point. He's going to win, and win by a lot. His challenger has been the state treasurer for the last three terms, and she's been accused of being the treasurer for the last governor who had the little, er, problem. And of course, that isn't true--the governor doesn't pick the treasurer. She got voted in. She was treasurer before the whole scandal. But people are stupid and believe everything they hear on television.

And I don't necessarily agree that she's the best choice for governor either, but I sure as heck can't vote for Rod. He's completely screwed over the public University system, while giving millions of dollars to private universities in the state--one little present was for some little school to build tennis courts. Yet we who are supposed to be half-supported by the state are told we aren't getting state money and have to tighten our belts and look elsewhere for funds. He doesn't care about us. His father-in-law, Paul Mell, is an old-time Chicago alderman. He doesn't even live in the governor's mansion in Springfield--he lives in Chicago.

So all of my friends that are democrats are trying to get me to vote for the Green party candidate, Rich Whitney. Of course, I've never heard of Rich Whitney, never read anything by him, never seen him on the news or television in general. And I'm supposed to vote for him? And the feeling I get is more of a "Rod is going to win anyway, so let's show all of them by getting this third-party guy 20% of the votes."

Which makes me think this is a red herring. And listen, these are the same people that think that George Bush controls gas prices and makes them go down at election time--if I want to have my silly conspiracy theory, I'm going to. Think about it. I'm not going to vote for Rod. I don't want to vote for Judy Baar Topinka. So my hippie liberal friends tell me to vote for Rich Whitney. Meanwhile, they are all going to vote for Rod (and if they do, they are stupid--the friends involved are even more attached to state money than I am and haven't gotten raises for three years because of the governor...).

Rod is going to win either way. Oh well.

The only other race of note is for a U.S. House of Representatives seat that is currently held by Republican Tim Johnson. His opponent, David Gill, has run against him the last two (I think) elections, and lost both times. Tim Johnson is a jerk, and I'll be the first to say it. He was a total jerk to my wife years and years ago when she was working at a grocery store in Urbana and he tried to write a counter check and she asked for his i.d. and he replied "Don't you know who I am?" It's not like you're the president, dude. (And at this time, he was an Illinois congressman--not yet on the national scene...).

But he does do good things for central Illinois. We're sometimes lost in the shuffle down here. He has gotten money for Villa Grove. He's a jerk, but I think he's done good by us. And the day I vote against someone who does good for us, just because he's a jerk, is the day that I'm no longer doing what I should be doing when I vote. The caveat to all of this is that while I think he has done good things for us here in the boonies, if I ever meet him in person, you can all be sure I'm going to bring up that whole thing about the bananas and the wheat beer and the counter check....

Okay, I've yammered enough--I think the polls open in a couple of minutes.

Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2006, 11:58 am
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One More Day

Well I tried to combat my cold with antihistamines, but all that did was make me fall asleep at 5:00 yesterday. It's a good thing, because the redhead is in the same boat I am, but she went to bed later. So when midnight rolled around and I was wide awake it worked out just well because a few minutes later my son went running into the bathroom. I'll spare you the details, but lets just suffice it to say that I've been ready to get rid of his bunk beds for some time now, but it worked out well last night because I just took the sheets and stuff from his bottom bed, dragged them down to the laundry room and started the washer, than yanked his mattress from the bed, stood it up against a wall, and pulled the already-made upper mattress and, poof, instant new clean bed.

Poor kid. He and I ended up staying home together today. He had a few more incidents over night, but he seems fine now. Thank goodness. Em, of course, was livid that he got to stay home from school. If she would have seen his room, and the bathroom, and everything else, she might have been a bit more understanding. Well, yeah--probably not.

At least election day is tomorrow. I'm so tired of whiny Republicans pointing fingers at Democrats, and equally tired of the whiny Democrats doing the same damn thing. And I'm still not sure who I'm voting for in most of the local and statewide races. Maybe we'll move to Australia...

Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2006, 12:18 am
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Ugh

Well I've already managed to blow this whole post-every-day in November thing. Oh well. Most of the day Friday my web site wasn't even available thanks to what I assume is someone else on the shared hosting server running a screwed up PHP program (I would never do such a thing, of course...).

Friday night was the variety show at the school. It was kinda funny to watch. There would be a couple of scantily clad high school cheerleaders grinding around to some rap song followed by a bunch of little kids singing religious songs. I wasn't sure how appropriate either were, and there were three or four instances of each. But whatever. The little dance routine that my daughter and the other little girls did was cute, and she enjoyed herself, so I guess that is all that was important.

Budge was in town for the weekend, so we had Thanksgiving a few weeks early (trust me--we'll do it again, a couple of more times I'm sure). While Billy and Jen and the new baby didn't make it up for the day, we still had a good time.

But somewhere in there I managed to catch a bug. Blech. I've actually been asleep since about 5:00 and just woke up long enough to get something to eat, and then I'm going back to bed.

And we'll have to see about work tomorrow. The boss is out of the office, and I don't have anything totally pressing, and if I feel like this in another 8 hours, I'm not going anywhere....

Posted: Monday, November 06, 2006, 4:28 am
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Thank Goodness

It is Friday. Even if we do have to go sit through the school's variety show for two hours tonight....

I don't know why this week has been so awful, but I'm just plain beat. I'm so ready for the weekend. Phew.

Budge comes home tonight, at least. We're having an early Thanksgiving tomorrow, which will be fun. Assuming Uncle Bill can keep his damn mouth shut. After the week I've had, it won't be pretty if he starts his rant up again about my going to school. More probable is that we'll end up talking to Budge about his cool new job, and that will set the tirade in motion. Whatever.

I'm too crabby to be posting. I should just sit here and keep my thoughts to myself.

At least it's Bamba day...

Posted: Friday, November 03, 2006, 4:10 pm
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If I Didn't Have Bad Luck...

So as I mentioned in my last post, I was supposed to attend the fall meeting of the Campus Computer Support Personnel today, but didn't get to go because of my car problems, etc.

Well, every time they have one of these meetings, people (like me) tend to sneak out and leave early rather than sit around for the closing session. In order to prevent this, they have end-of-meeting drawings for free books and t-shirts and such to entice people to stay--you have to be present to win.

And I still usually leave these things early--getting home an hour earlier than normal is worth more than a book. If I need a book on "Administering Windows 2000," I'll go buy it.

So today I didn't go at all. And as I left my office at 5:00 p.m. to go downstairs and get picked up by the redhead, my cell phone rang. It was my friend Tod, who had gone to the meeting, and knew why I wasn't there (presumably he talked to Steve, who I had e-mailed with an explanation of my car problems, etc.).

Well this year they didn't give away a book. Or a T-shirt.

They gave away an X-Box 360.

And guess whose %#$@&ing name they pulled out of the hat first?

I'm trying to be rationale, but I think I'm more upset because I'm half embarrassed that my name got called and I wasn't there--I would have been half-embarrassed even if it would have just been a book.

But that would have been a nice free Christmas present for someone.

Now, assuming that they didn't tell everyone the grand prize ahead of time, I still probably would have left early, and had my name called, and not won. And if that were the case, I'd feel a lot more stupid, right? I mean, I had a valid excuse for not being there at all today--that's not as bad as having actually sat through most of the thing, leaving an hour early, etc., right?

And we don't need another game console at our house anyway. And my son is more into the PS3 than he is interested in the X-Box 360. Even if it would have been free. And even if he had gotten it for Christmas instead of a PS3 (which he is not getting for Christmas).

I couldn't help it. My car was going to break down, and I had no control over that.

I've been sulking since that phone call, and I need to quit. Hence this post. I'm washing it away.

It's not like it was a Lexus. And if I really, I mean really wanted an X-Box 360 I could go write a check and buy one tomorrow. But I don't need one. I don't want one.

But still....

I think the fact that I had an awful day at work today exacerbates the whole situation. Like of course after the day I had I find out I would have won an X-Box 360 if I would have gone to that silly conference.

Okay, that's the end of that. Earl is on in 15 minutes. And then our pal Dwight Shrute afterwards. I'm going to grab a glass of wine and plop down on the couch next to my loving wife, and let today's events fade away.

Posted: Friday, November 03, 2006, 12:47 am
Mood: Unhappy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Is This Week Over Yet?

Well today was fun.

I made it halfway to work before the Aurora died. I got it started again and drove a couple of more miles to the next stop sign, where it died again. Nice. So I drove back home--having to put it in neutral at each stop sign so it wouldn't die on my again. Damn car.

I was absolutely swamped today at work. And I guess it's a good thing the Aurora did what it did because that forced me to miss the fall Campus Computer Support Personnel meeting, and being out of the office all day today would have been a really bad thing. I had database goofiness (well, no--I need to rephrase that. I was worried about database goofiness--as best I can tell it was user error on the other end of things that caused the problem and not anything that I did...).

I had to post one of the newsletters today, and make some pages for a class that one of our professors is teaching this semester. And I had to scan some slides and then create a graphic for another newsletter that I deal with.

And it's almost 5:00 and almost dark. I hate it when daylight savings time ends. Oh well. Okay, redhead, come pick me up so that we can go home....

Posted: Thursday, November 02, 2006, 10:57 pm
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Sheesh

What an awfully busy day. My goodness. This morning I arrived to find that my web server was dead. Well, Apache was dead, to be more exact. Total panic for about 0.68 seconds on my part. I was able to SSH into the machine, which was good. So then I gave it the good ol' "service httpd status."

And it replied with something I've never seen before. It said something to the effect of "httpd has a pid but the service is dead" or some such. So I wasn't surprised when "service httpd restart" didn't work. At least the error I got then led me in the right direction.

So get this... I had to renew my Thawte SSL certificate yesterday. Well, actually it expired in August so technically I was applying for a new one--I generated a new CSR and sent the information to campus. And yesterday afternoon, in anticipation of my receiving the new certificate today, I moved the .crt and .key files for the old certificate into a file called OLD_KEYS or some such thing.

And somehow at 3:42 this morning Apache decided that it didn't like those to be missing. I can only guess that someone somewhere made an https:// request and that the key/cert get checked each time and since they had been moved, Apache blew up? I guess I naively thought (or didn't give it much thought) that that stuff got checked when the service started up and wouldn't get checked again until I bumped the service.

So for a short term fix I renamed /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf to something that didn't end in .conf, and then tried "service httpd restart" again. Lo and behold, I was serving web pages again.

Later in the morning I got my new certificate, so I installed it and the newly generated key where the old ones were, made ssl.conf available again, and restarted Apache and it all came back up nicely and I can serve https:// pages again without any warnings.

So then I got swamped with about 8 other different things (including problems with people and the back button and our electronic grant system...) and was busy the rest of the morning.

Well I finally got back to seeing just what the heck the problem was that would have made Apache die in the middle of the night. Nothing in the virtual host error or access logs, nothing in the server's named error or access logs, and nothing in the SSL error or access log. Odd. Finally I checked the vanilla error_log and found the culprit, though this has shed little lot on my mystery.

SIGHUP received. Attempting to restart
Syntax error on line 121 of /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf:
SSLCertificateFile: file '/etc/httpd/conf/ssl.crt/.....crt' does not exist or is empty

What the hell does "SIGHUP" mean? I poked around on Google (and Wikipedia, which anymore has replaced Google for me for lots of things....). The gist I get is that Apache received the SIGHUP from the operating system because some wrapper process died. Or something.

Anyway, too much more to do today--just wanted to write this all down while it was still fresh. How bizarre

Posted: Wednesday, November 01, 2006, 9:35 pm
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Halloween

Al decided that he was too big for trick-or-treating this year, and that he'd rather stay home and hand out candy (plus that way he could see all his friends).

Em and her best friend Shauna got matching witch costumes, and they have been raring to go for weeks.

Here's Em getting ready, and of course we have to show the birthday girl as well:

Here's Em and Shauna before they headed out to attack the neighborhood

I also took some pictures of some of the people that visited us. Here's Em's friend Megan (on the right) and her little sister Molly

Here's Em's friend Mady and her mom and brother and somebody else. Mady dressed up as "Abraham Lincoln's Notebook" and her little brother is the pencil.

And here's Vanessa, the daughter of our friends Shannon and Darren

After Em and Shauna were finished with our neighborhood, the redhead took them out to Granny's and then brought them to Shauna's neighborhood (and then they worked their way back to Shauna's house and her mom drove Em home to us...).

Al and I spent most of the time whipping balled-up socks at each other. Sometimes it's fun to just be boys. Anyway....

Posted: Wednesday, November 01, 2006, 4:56 pm
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