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Archived Entries from September 2005


Day Five

Thank goodness. I'm ready to go home and go to sleep in my own bed.

The training was fun, and I learned a lot, but I think four days of intensive training is too much--even if we did finish before 5:00 each day. I think we only have 3 units left for today (we did 5 each of the last three days) and if memory serves the last unit is a "Where do we go from here?" kind of thing--not really instruction.

We had a good dinner last night at a place called Red Robin, which I had never heard of before. It was pretty good (but man was it expensive). We watched the 3rd Indiana Jones movie when we got back to the room before going to bed.

This has been fun but I'm ready to be home. Phew

Posted: Friday, September 30, 2005, 11:36 am
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I wish I had my camera with me...

The instructor was talking about the command "fuser." He wrote some passable options below it, and the dry erase board has this on it:

fuser
-u
-c
-k

It looks kinda funny...

Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2005, 6:14 pm
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September 28th

My mother's birthday. Like every year, I am semi-aware during the preceeding weeks that this day is approaching, yet every time the actual day surprises me. I didn't think of it this morning, but just now looked at the time on the computer and there it was in clear print: Sep 28.

We just finished up file permissions in my Linux class. I think in the next few "units" that I may actually learn some new things that I didn't know. I'm really starting to get irritated with the gross old guy in the class that feels the need to chime in with off-topic comments from time-to-time. Dude--we're all computer people here. You're not impressing anyone. Shut. up.

Anyway. I hope the family has fun today, and I hope we get out of here as early as we did yesterday...

Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2005, 3:13 pm
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RedHat Training

RedHat Training, day one...

Well, I'm not completely bored, so far. It's been pretty easy stuff for the first half of the day, which is kinda how I figured it would be. The 30 minute lab just took about 5 minutes. But I'm not complaining....

And I did get an explanation of why you have to do "./" before an executable file in your working directory rather than just typing the name of the file, so that is cool.

I really like Linux. This will be fun. I hope the kids are having a good time at the zoo today.

Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2005, 5:20 pm
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I'd call this...

..."Gateway to Hell" but I think I made that joke already a while back and nobody finds it funny but me because nobody knows the reference that I'm making and it can't be found on the Internet. Oh well.

We're in St. Louis! The whole famn damily! And I think I might actually be able to relax.

We got the house cleaned this weekend. I started and finished a web job over the weekend for a woman that is having an antique auction and whose previous web person quit on her. I got caught up on my typesetting freelance stuff. And I actually got the yard mowed today as well. And here we are!

RedHat training starts for me tomorrow, and I think the redhead and the kids might go to the zoo.

This place has a pretty cool pool--it is both inside and outside and you can swim under the wall to get from one side to the other.

We have a suite that has two rooms with two beds and a hide-a-bed as well. The "living room" part of it has its own television so we brought the PS2 and I hooked it up for the little video game man. It wasn't working at first and he was a bit frustrated but after they left to start swimming I determined that the wingnut hadn't pushed the video cable into the unit far enough and that's why no picture was showing up. Duh, Alex.

We went and had a nice dinner this evening and now we're just hanging out in the hotel room. Two televisions, one laptop supercomputer, one PS2, a couple of GameBoys, and I think enough clothes for us to stay a month.

Okay, time to kick Alex off of the PS2. I don't care how bad-ass you think you are, you're still just playing as a damn Lego guy... The stinker...

Linux training starts tomorrow! I'm excited!

Posted: Monday, September 26, 2005, 12:58 pm
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Thursday...

I solved the recursion project for my class tonight.

I filled up both cars with gas, along with a few gas cans.

Gas prices here haven't gone up yet, even though cnn.com has been waving their arms like mad since Monday.

Posted: Friday, September 23, 2005, 1:09 am
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Java

Well, I guess it's time for me to get serious about school. I mean, lots more serious.

My Java skills stink. Oh my goodness. It's no wonder that "true" programmers find PHP sloppy, where a variable can be cast as a string or an integer or a float, and overhead be damned!.

My java is quite rusty. I'm pretty good with the whole OO thing, which is a bit surprising to me (I guess it's like riding a bike?). Holey moley.

I have to write a program that is a variant of the "knapsack problem" involving a virtual moving truck and sizes of boxes, using recursion (of course). I think I'm good with the recursion part of it, it was the i/o of reading a file and importing the numbers and stuff. So after spending a few hours on the couch with the laptop this evening I finally can open up any of the "test" files and read in the information, parse it, and iterate through the data.

Anyway. I suppose I ought to get busy with this stuff since it is due Monday....

Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2005, 2:30 am
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Movie Stars

So the redhead and I were just flipping channels... So TV Guide Channel used to be a blue screen with scrolling television listings. Then it became half a screen with that totally annoying John Henson Project dork and other "programming" on the top half of the screen. Today it is a full screen of Joan and Melissa Rivers and some gay dude giving critiques of outfits that people wore to the Emmy awards that must have been in the last few days (?) with two small paltry lines of what is on the rest of the television stations.... So as we keep flipping we get to E! (I'm not sure what channel it really is...) and the same thing is happening--minus the television listings. More comments about clothes that the "stars" wore to some award show.

I looked at the wife and commented that rather than wear these ungodly (and ugly) expensive outfits to some (stupid) award show, why not have an award show where everyone wears a t-shirt and cut-off sweats and takes all of that money that would have been "wasted" (in my opinion) it and donates to some charity--hurricane relief or otherwise. Perhaps that moron rapper could donate some of his endless supply of riches to put up some families of "looters."

If our country would spend half the time trying to help folks in a bad situation instead of simply trying to point the blame at someone (as if someone can be blamed for a freakin' hurricane...) I think everyone involved would be better off.

But cnn.com has to have their story. And someone has to be faulted. And people wonder why I've turned my back on religion. Sheesh.... Okay, end of pointless rant. I just think it is silly that our culture puts such importance on what clothes some actors and actresses are wearing to some award show that is stupidly pointless. Firefighters aren't heroes (well, to be selfish maybe I should say that I.T. people aren't heroes either, even though sometimes I think we should be considered) but some bimbo who plays some bimbo in some show about illicit suburban relationships is a hero. When you delete your entire e-mail inbox (or light your house on fire), Terri Hatcher isn't going to be able to do a damn thing for you.

Geeks are cooler than movie stars. Okay, I'll shut up now...

Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2005, 12:38 am
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Bowling Fallout

My butt and my back are absolutely killing me. I woke up Sunday morning and could hardly get out of bed. I had no idea I was so out of shape. And no, I'm not talking about anything gross--just muscle pain from bowling. Holey moley.

Even today, after sitting at my desk for an hour at a time it was a chore to get up and walk to get a glass of water. Groan.

"Destroy All Humans" arrived today. Alex says it is cool. I'm half-watching him play KOTOR right now while his sister has her piano lesson upstairs (I really wish that stinker would start practicing during the week...).

We have a faculty/staff departmental "retreat" tomorrow morning. I've never been to one before but since my boss is the one organizing it this year I kind of have to go. Oh well.

I don't know much else.

Posted: Monday, September 19, 2005, 11:11 pm
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Some Pics

Oh, I meant to post some photos when I was writing that post in the dentists' office. So, out of context they will be, but here they are...

Here's just a portion of the tomatoes that I had to can last weekend:

Here's some of the resulting canned sauce:

My stinkpot boy went to the football game last weekend with his pal Owen and they each decided on some orange hair:

A watermelon that we grew ourselves out at the farm:

Hmm. I guess I thought I had a picture uploaded from when we went hiking at Walnut Point State Park a few weekends back, but apparently I'm wrong....

Posted: Monday, September 19, 2005, 8:02 am
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Hanging On...

What a fun weekend! Our son turns 10 on Tuesday (which I still can't believe) so we let him have a friend over on Saturday (rather than do the big "party" thing). The five of us went bowling at the Illini Union. What a blast! Mr. I-took-a-bowling-class-in-college (um, that'd be me) threw gutter balls on my first 3 attempts (after 2 frames I had scored ONE pin...). The Union lanes had been remodeled a few years back and they are quite nice (they have always been well taken care of...). The kids had the bumpers pulled up on their lane, and they just loved the whole deal. After two games for them (and 3 for the redhead and I) we moved on to playing arcade games and pinball. I brought a huge bag of quarters (that I picked out of the mogwai jar) but of course all the machines took tokens. So I spent a while putting a quarter in the token machine, and getting a single token back. Quarter. Token. Quarter. Token. Ho hum.

One of the games that I played (other than Ms. Pac Man, of course--forget all of the shooting games and stuff...) was one of the driving games with gas pedals and gear shifts etc. It was really cool--it vibrated when you drove off the road and you could feel the resistance in the steering wheel, etc. I'll mention this: the convertible BMW handles way better than the Corvette---I don't care how fast the Vette is....

After spending probably too much time playing arcade games we went and had pizza and then headed home. I built a fire and the kids roasted marshmallows. All in all it was quite a fun day.

Today we had the family version of the birthday party, although it was just us and Granny and Grandma and Uncle Budgie--Papa is farming and when it comes time for farming, well, we don't see Papa much. And that's fine--I think Alex realizes that Papa is usually going to be busy on his birthday every year.

Oh, I should interrupt and note that Granny is home and is doing well.

So our son requires one thing on his birthday every year--homemade fried chicken. And my wife makes awesome fried chicken. The gravy was so thick that even though I thought I wasn't necessarily full after eating my first plate of chicken and potatoes, I literally didn't think I could ingest anything else. Talk about sticking to your ribs...

My son is such a neat kid. Ever since he was little he's been the most gracious present-getter than anyone I've ever known. When he was a really little boy we used to have a hard time on Christmas getting him to open all of his presents. He'd open the first one and be so excited and want to run off and play and forget everything else. We'd have to make him stop what he was doing to open everything else. (Unlike our daughter who doesn't breathe during her storm of paper-shredding and then says "That's it?") And he was like that yesterday. The first present we gave him was the Lego Star Wars game for his PS2. And of course it still amazes me that he can pop in a game and immediately know how to play--and these things come with textbooks for manuals compared to the Atari games from when I was a kid... Later during the day (after throwing the football around--a present from his friend that stayed over) we gave him two more of his presents. One was Jedi Academy for PC--a game that we used to have but that had something wrong with the disc or something and I had promised to replace it forever--and the other was Knights of the Old Republic, also for PC. Of course, our daughter was playing some game on AmericanGirl.com and he never even considered trying to boot her from the computer--he just went back to playing the Lego game while he waited.

Okay, enough about that stinkpot....

We're still boiling water and filtering it with a Brita pitcher before making ice and filling the drinking water pitcher, even though the boiling order is supposedly over with.

Oh I'm so dreading this week. I wish I wouldn't have just thought about it. Oh well. Vacation in one week...

Posted: Monday, September 19, 2005, 7:28 am
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From Last Week....

I meant to blog a week ago talking about last weekend and just didn't get around to it. Then I had to take the kids to the dentist and, while I didn't have a network connection, I did bring my laptop to blog. But I never uploaded it. So here it is--probably waaaay out of context. Well, to me anyway...

Sittin' in the Dentist's Office

Well, I had my semi-annual tooth cleaning earlier this week, and we thought that the brats were supposed to go with mom to the dentist next Thursday but oops... The redhead's appointment is next Thursday but the kids' were today. So I got to leave work early to get them from school and now here we are. Well, they're getting their oil changed and I'm in the waiting room.

I've meant to blog all week--I even uploaded a bunch of photos on Monday that I meant to talk about but then didn't get around to writing. And I haven't been procrastinating--I've actually been busy.

Last weekend my daughter and I went out to check on our garden out at the farm. Holy tomatoes, Batman. Let me explain it this way--we brought 8 plastic grocery bags with us, and after we made our way through maybe half of the plants I had to send my daughter back to the car because there wasn't any more room on the golf cart. And then I told her to go into grandma's house and get about a dozen more bags...

So I spent the rest of the weekend canning spaghetti sauce. Groan. I did like 9 quarts on Saturday and 3 quarts (and a pint!) on Sunday. Yesterday I had to leave early because the kids got out of school at 11:00 and grandma couldn't pick them up (we'll get to that next). We spent the rest of the day preparing for the first arrival of the cleaning lady (actually, I'll get to that next, then the thing with grandma...). Part of cleaning up for the cleaning lady involved getting rid of the rest of the tomatoes, so I made salsa and canned four pints of that. I'm out of lids so I think I'm done canning for the year... At least the tomatoes are gone now.

Okay, when I was younger, before my mom died, we had a lady clean our house after my mom went back to work (she stayed home with us until we were all in school). It was awful. We basically had to clean the house the day before the cleaning lady. I could never understand this--why are we cleaning the house? And now I understand. The house has to be "picked up" so that the cleaning lady can "clean" it. It still seems like a lot more work than it is worth.

And I should explain the cleaning lady situation lest anyone think we have more money than we know what to do with, which is most certainly not the case. My mother-in-law has had a woman named Nettie clean her house for several years--since they lived in the house that we live in now. Well, Uncle Budgie and Aunt Molly have moved out of the homestead and now that grandma is retired there really isn't a need for Nettie to clean her house every week. But being the philanthropist that she is, she doesn't want to stop paying Nettie every week. So now she only cleans the in-laws' house every other week, and cleans our house the weeks she doesn't clean out at the farm. So we have a cleaning lady. Sheesh.

On to grandma, or more importantly, Granny. Granny is the redhead's grandmother (her mom's mom) and, well, she's a redhead too come to think of it. Anyway poor Granny isn't in the best of shape and has had some trouble breathing lately. So grandma finally talked her into going to the doctor. Several tests later and Granny was admitted to the hospital. It seems her heart isn't beating "hard" enough, and that has caused some clotting throughout her circulatory system. The doctor even thinks that she might have a clot in part of her heart. He didn't want to do anything exploratory for fear of how she would be able to handle it, so he changed her medication to thin her blood somewhat and then at some point they are going to zap her heart and try to get it to start beating normally again, or something. It's been rather scary, and the redhead's evil aunt (who is in Colorado?) has been awful during all of this. She's chastised my mother-in-law for not doing something sooner (which is baloney because Granny does what Granny wants--there's little chance of ever making her do anything she doesn't want to). Then she proceeded to say that the doctor is putting her on the wrong medication and doesn't know what he's doing. You see, she's an occupational therapist and apparently they have more knowledge of hearts and medicines and how things work than actual doctors do. Groan.

The good news is that Granny is supposed to come home today--in fact, she might be home right now as I'm writing this. I know that my wife has been very worried and we are all relieved that she's able to come back home. Obviously she's not completely out of the woods but, well, once people get older they start to wander into the forest--that's kinda how it works, if you get my drift.

The person that this has been hardest on has been my mother-in-law. Besides being the one that has to actually "deal" with the situation (and Granny), she also has to hear about it from her siblings, which is ridiculous in my opinion. You don't like how things are being handled? Then you move back here and you deal with it. Okay, then.

In other news...

I finished up the credit card thingy for the Conferences web site at work yesterday. Well, I shouldn't say "finished" because there is still some cosmetic work to be done but the guts are doing what they are supposed to. I never dreamed it would be this complicated. I have to make an SHA hash of a concatenation of a bunch of stuff (site ID, timestamp, etc.) and then chat back and forth to the campus credit card server before they will believe me that my server is one of the good guys. Oop--one kid is finished. I'll finish this up later.

Posted: Monday, September 19, 2005, 7:22 am
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Broken Water Main

I can't believe it. I got home last night and went to rinse my hands and turned on the kitchen faucet and... nothing. I checked to make sure the water bill wasn't overdue or anything, and then called City Hall to see what the deal was. As it turns out, a water main had broken under the highway that runs through town and the entire town was without water.

I absolutely cannot believe the President Bush, after purposely making that hurricane hit the gulf coast (and hypnotizing the moronic governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans into not asking for federal assistance...), would have the gall to then break our town's water main. CNN then immediately reported that it would be three months before water service would be restored and that 15,000 people would die as a result. Oh, wait, those figures aren't even close.

As it turned out, I did manage to purchase some bottled water at the grocery store, and cleverly figured that I could use a bucket and get water from the pool to keep the toilet tanks filled so that we could continue to use that part of the plumbing at least... See, the pool is good for something...

Anyway.

I started to write a blog post from the waiting room at the dentist's office while the kids were getting their teeth cleaned but I left my laptop at home this morning so I'll have to post it this weekend.

I'm really ready for the weekend...

Posted: Friday, September 16, 2005, 2:56 pm
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Plateau

Well this is a switch. Today I decided to wake up at 1:30 a.m. instead of 4:00 a.m. How nice for me.

And I'm hungry, and I'm not going to eat. I weighed myself yesterday morning, and I'm off of my plateau. I'm down to 182. Only 2 more to go and I've lost my 20. And I don't think I'm going to stop there. This is going to sound silly, but even I can tell now that I've lost weight. The frustrating part for me is that the "spare tire" still exists. My face is skinnier, my torso is skinnier, my arms are skinnier, but there's still this gut. Blech. Oh well.

I picked up another consulting job today, which is cool. Hopefully I won't blow the money from this one before I even get the check. Oh well.

Well I don't have much else to talk about, and there's nothing but (get this) hurricane coverage and infomercials on television, so I guess I'll go back to bed...

Posted: Thursday, September 08, 2005, 6:43 am
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Adventure!


Okay, enough maudlinism (yes, I made that word up, I think).

I made a couple of great strides the past couple of days regarding my web-based text adventure system. Last night I created a few database tables for "room" descriptions and "exits," or basically, what rooms you can get to from any other room. Today I worked briefly on a setup involving frames where one PHP-based frame could write content to the other frame. I'm still not sure how many past commands and descriptions should be available in the descriptive frame--it could scroll on forever. My thought was to keep the last ten commands/results and clear the frame and rewrite it (which doesn't even take an instant) with the newest information on top each time. I'm using javascript (which sucks) to send the content to the main frame, and the console frame is basically a web form (in PHP) that submits to itself.

I'm not even close to having this working yet, but I'm at the point where I think this is definitely do-able.

I just googled for a minute to see what web references there are to text-based adventure games, and of course I came upon something called "Eamon," which was a public domain adventure game system made for Apple computers back in the 1980s. The hilarious thing about it is that I actually have 3 adventures that I wrote when I was younger (in junior high?) that are part of the whole system/universe and can be downloaded from the 'net. It's funny to scroll through a list of games and see my own name listed.

Anyway. I need to get back to work on the credit card processing stuff for our conferences web site(s) tomorrow at work. I suppose I should try to get some more sleep between now and then (although I'd rather get something to eat and force myself to watch television news....)

Posted: Wednesday, September 07, 2005, 9:17 am
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Exhaustion


Yes, it's almost 4:00 a.m. and yes, I'm getting ready to blog about things neither nerdy nor gardeny. Maybe I can get back to nerdy and gardeny by the end of this post...

Several years ago I used to belong to what I considered an on-line community of sorts that "hung out" at a certain Mac-oriented troubleshooting web site. Besides helping others resolve their computer problems, many of the members, including myself, spent a good deal of time chewing the fat (that's a hick term that I think just means "talking") about anything and everything. The sky was blue outside at the time, and the subject matter was light and lively. Then something odd happened. A bunch of wacko islamic psychos flew a few planes into some buildings and the real world, and our on-line world, was changed forever.

The on-line "community" that I was a part of deteriorated into a he-said, she-said that spanned countries and continents. It stopped being fun. Nobody was nice anymore. You were either on one side or another--and I'm going to try not to get into what the "sides" were all about (I'm sure anyone with half a brain can guess) because that really doesn't matter.

One group of folks got fed up when one of their own was censored about a certain topic (I think that's what it really came down to) and they all left and formed their own little "community." I thought about staying put, or joining them, and for the most part just stopped dealing with people on the 'net altogether instead.

Recently I tested the waters at the splinter group, and started to get back into the swing of "hanging out" again (sorry for all the quotes) with people from this original group of acquaintances. And again, this has all deteriorated into my wasting my time.

Now I don't even know what I'm rambling about....

I don't know if this was the desired intention, but if I were Osama I'd be pretty pleased with myself right about now, because this country sure isn't what it used to be. We're so polarized and hateful of ourselves that it is half-painful to try to get from day to day. Everything has become a battle. Every single discussion becomes a matter of what "side" people are on.

Thousands of people have been killed in a natural disaster that was predicted over 50 years ago, and rather than forging ahead as the great county that we are, all that has happened is that everyone is blaming everyone else for the tragedy. It's pathetic.

I guess I don't have too much more to say. (Or as Forrest would say "That's all I have to say about that...") Just pathetic. Oh well.

A kid from New Orleans will be joining my daughter's class tomorrow. Apparently this little girl's family is coming to live with the girl's grandparents (her dad just got back from Iraq, and as the bad luck would have it, he's now part of the cleaning up effort in Louisiana). Hopefully we can find out tomorrow who the grandparents are and get more details on the situation--I realize that giving money to the Red Cross is an option, but I'd much rather help someone on a more personal basis. I'm sure that I'm not the only one in our little community anxious for a chance to help out this family. If every little community in the country were able to help just one family... I don't know. I either need to bury my feelings or get a different blog to talk about this kind of stuff....

Posted: Wednesday, September 07, 2005, 8:49 am
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Side Effects


So I've mentioned that I "mostly" gave up drinking a month or so ago. I say "mostly" because I still partake on the weekends, and have broken the "not during the week" mantra a few times in the past month.

I still don't know if this has been a coincidence of all of this, or a side effect, but I've seemed to have more headaches than normal. I used to get headaches frequently, yes, but I attributed them to the aftereffect of red wine and nothing more.

I expected when I cut down on the booze that the headaches would go away. But they almost seem to have gotten worse.

My doctor told me that it is safe for me to take up to 5 Advil up to 4 times a day for a total of 20 per day. This was a couple of years ago when I hurt my neck. The last time I saw her (for a sinus infection) I repeated this back to her for verification, and she once again said that I could take five at a time up to 20 a day--so I never dreamed this and this came from my actual doctor not some article I read in Wired or GamePro.

And any time I get a headache, I take 5. No reason to mess with 2 or 3. She said take five--I take five. I've never taken more than ten a day, if that counts for anything. Usually the headache appears, I take my five, and away it goes in 20 minutes or so.

But I'm still half-concerned that I'm getting headaches, especially when I haven't had anything to drink for several days.

So I finally got around (it's taken a month so I obviously haven't been that concerned) to do some googling.

The first thing I found out is that "DT" doesn't stand for "detox" it stands for Delirium tremens. So I can quit attributing my headaches to "DTs." And no, I don't have the shakes and never had throughout all of this. But then the list of "symptoms of alcohol withdrawal" grows from there, and it sounds like a commercial on television.

Basically any possible bad thing you can think of can be caused by stopping drinking. Anxiety, depression, fatigue, palpitations, sweating, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, insomnia, pale skin (of all things), mood changes, restlesness, fear, excitement, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, delirium, stupor, seizures, and tremors. Oh, and headaches too.

After reading all of the bad stuff about delirium tremens and the other symptoms (and more lengthy explanations of them) I'm relatively certain that I'm in good shape. The headaches may or may not be related, but I'm not going to worry about it.

Posted: Tuesday, September 06, 2005, 11:58 am
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The End of Summer


Even though school started a few weeks back (for me and the kids), I can now say that our summer is "officially" over. We had friends over on Saturday for one last pool hurrah--with tacos and margaritas to boot (no margaritas for the children, of course...). I didn't swim at all--the water was freezing. But the kids have thicker skins and seemed to enjoy themselves.

The evening deteriorated (for want of a better word--I'm still too sleepy to come up with one that has fewer negative connotations) into a Euchre game, which went on until close to midnight. I'm just glad I didn't have to drive anywhere because I was absolutely zonked.

Sunday the family and I went to Walnut State Park to walk the trails and have a picnic. I took a whole bunch of pictures--I'll post some of them later (I downloaded them to my laptop and don't feel like going upstairs and networking it right now to get the pictures off of it).

Then Monday I spent the day doing the homework and labs and quizzes for my class, which actually weren't as hard as I thought they'd be.

And I closed the pool.

And this is actually the first year that I'm actually rather sad to close it up. For the first year I actually enjoyed the damn thing--it wasn't just a (way too expensive) hassle. Sure, it's nice to be able to shut the pump off for the year (maybe our power bill will dip below $300 this month now...) but I actually had a lot of fun and got a lot of enjoyment from the pool this year. Maybe I'm finally learning to shut up and smell the roses?

The redhead starts her new job today. I really hope that this isn't as difficult for her as she seems to think it is going to be. I try to tell myself that she's just acting like me (that's scary) and assuming the worst. I really hope everything turns out for the best...

Posted: Tuesday, September 06, 2005, 9:25 am
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Last Day


My poor wife. Today is her last day at the part-time version of her job. Next week she starts at the main office of the company she works for--full time and more money, but I think she's a bit apprehensive at this point. I just hope the switch goes well.

Be happy, honey!

Posted: Friday, September 02, 2005, 3:24 pm
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Is It Friday Yet?


Sheesh. This week has been brutal.

I will say that I feel somewhat optimistic today (even though I just topped off the gas tank for $30...). I didn't watch the news last night, didn't wake up at 4:00 this morning, and haven't even considered looking at cnn.com since I promised yesterday that I wouldn't. So there, newscasters--go create panic and hysteria and despair for everyone else. I'm going to sit here in my tiny little armpit of the world and be happily oblivious.

I still can't get that silly Optiplex to boot from a CD. I think my pal Steve is wrong. It already does have the lastest BIOS installed (AO5) and booting from CD still isn't an option. Oh well. Maybe I'll just have to deal with Slackware or some other "distro."

"What pair of pants go better with this shirt?" I don't know! Just pick a pair and let's get to work already...

Oop. She's ready...

Posted: Friday, September 02, 2005, 1:27 pm
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More Linux Installs


So my pal Steve tells me that the old Optiplex should be able to boot from the CD drive--I just might have to flash the BIOS first. Fine.

The funny thing was that I was thinking of downloading Debian or Slackware and using that instead. That idea had been starting to wear on me, but I have enough going on--I think I'll just stick with one flavor of Linux (unless you consider Fedora and RedHat Enterprise to be two different things, which they are theoretically but, really, they aren't...).

I also toyed with the BSD route, but, well, if I want to learn BSD I already have a couple of installations of that that I use every day called, uh, OS X? Anyway.

And Fedora does make the most sense as I already know how to set up a software RAID 1.

I'm pooped. Is it Friday yet?

Posted: Thursday, September 01, 2005, 8:45 pm
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No More News


....or as Gary Gnu used to say, "No Gnews is Good Gnews".....

No more CNN in the evening for me. No more cnn.com. And the radio can stay on classical music for the ride back and forth to work. It's as if newscasters everywhere are trying, on purpose, to whip everyone into a frenzy. And I'm tired of being manipulated by those folks, so I'm going to quit watching, and quit listening.

People have existed for thousands of years without constant news updates. Heck, it used to be that countries would send their troops off to war and not know the outcome until the army returned victorious (or not).

I have too many other things to invest energy into at this point--I'm not stressing about news any more. Maybe I will move my family up into some shack on a mountain somewhere....

Groan. End of non-nerdy post...

Posted: Thursday, September 01, 2005, 8:34 pm
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Squeek


Hmm. If I were an extra PS/2 mouse, where would I be...

I just downloaded the first ISO of FC4 (I have the set at work but keep forgetting to bring them home....). I have one last computer that I need to get out of the Nerdrium--and old Dell Optiplex. This thing is a total monster of pure unadulterated processing power! I replaced its stock Pentium 166 MHz chip with a Pentium 200 MMx and bumped its RAM up to the maximum 128 megs! I scrounged up a couple of identical tiny hard drives as well and hope to run software RAID 1.

That is, if it will boot from a CD.

I still need to come up with a damn mouse, though.

Are PCs like old ADB-based Macs? Can I unplug the mouse and plug it back in while the machine is running, or will that fry the motherboard (good engineering, Apple...)?

Well, we may be finding out here shortly because I'm not going outside and looking in the garage...

Posted: Thursday, September 01, 2005, 9:33 am
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4:00 a.m.


Okay, so I need to realize that when I wake up at 4:00 a.m. now it is not insomnia. When I got to bed (sober) at 8:45, read for a half hour, and then fall asleep, it only makes sense that I wake up at 4:00. I need about 7 hours of sleep, and, well, 4:00 a.m. rolls around and my body clock thinks it is time to get up. Sheesh.

Gas prices went up to $3.20 a gallon for the "cheap stuff" yesterday. I'm trying so hard not to freak out, but I'm having a hard time of it. The basis for my fear comes from my knowing that each time in the last 10-15 years that something has happened to financially help us out, something else has showed up to nullify that help. Any time I've gotten a raise, or even a more substantial jump in pay (switching jobs, etc.) we've managed to simply "absorb" that extra money and life has progressed right as it had before--that is, never exactly paying all of the bills, having just enough money to scrape by at the end of the month, etc. And nothing in savings, of course.

So I just got a much-larger-than-campus-average raise that goes into effect this month. The redhead starts working full-time (and with a raise, to boot) next Monday. I've (well, other than the occasional noted slip-up) stopped drinking a case of beer and a bottle of wine every damn day of the week. We're starting our new budget this Friday. The best-case scenario is a net increase, each month, of somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand dollars. That's almost enough to cover the mortgage payment.

And I'm panicked. I made so many adjustments to make this happen, and completely changed my lifestyle (and yes, that needed to be done anyway for reasons other than just money--I'm really not patting myself on the back for giving up beer...). But I want to see a result from all of this. I want to start having short-term emergency savings, and longer-term savings for new appliances. I want to get the rest of the way out of debt.

And I have this nagging fear that all of this is going to be for naught. And it's because I pay too much attention to the news and everyone claiming that the sky is falling because gas is going to hit $3, or $4, or $5 a gallon.

The redhead and I have started riding to work together. This has effectively cut our gas cost in half. Do I sound like a broken record?

Okay, I just need to get over this. Watching the hurricane coverage depresses me even more (and of course makes me feel like an ass when my biggest personal concern in my big comfy house is that gas went up 20 cents and there are people without a home, or food, or water...).

Enough lamenting. I need to get back to writing about geeky/gardeny stuff. After all, this is called "Nerd Garden" and not "Bald Whiner."

Posted: Thursday, September 01, 2005, 9:00 am
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