Monday, June 22, 2009

The joys of feeding antipasto to the cat


(checks timecard) June 21, 2009; 00:52 hours. Seven minutes overtime... Aah, not worth the paperwork for seven minutes.

Welcome to summer, folks. Sorry I'm late... I had a particularly onerous onslaught of random equipment malfunctions to deal with. My spring equinox gig ended just after midnight Saturday night; but equipment snafus are 24/7/365.

It all started when I attempted to uninstall some of the programs on My Fedora desktop system. Lo and behold, by the time I noticed that Firefox and Open Office and the *ahem* software add/remove tool had also been uninstalled, there wasn't a heck of a lot I could do about it.

Except boot the system from a rescue CD and get My data the heck off the computer before something really nasty happened.

Unfortunately, My moribund system had been installed with a LVM partition, a rather odd beast that did not auto-mount either under Knoppix or Ubuntu. So I did what any self-respecting geek goddess would do: I installed an FTP server on My Windows XP box and used Fedora 9 in recovery mode to start My network card and conjure up a shell. This enabled Me to finally see the LVM partition. Then, using the command line version of FTP, I proceeded to move four years' worth of novels over to the aforementioned Windows system.

So that's how I spent most of Saturday night, and why I missed the end of My vernal equinox shift and clocked out a few minutes late.

Somewhere in the middle of all this madness and cyber-angst, I did manage to blend up a glorious Havana Frappé (White rum, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and a maraschino cherry) and allowed Ludwig to finish off a bowl of antipasto. And then I went back upstairs and transferred files until I couldn't see straight. For the record, I blame the FTP client, not the Havana Frappé.

Come Sunday evening, I decided to expedite matters somewhat and did some more research on the ins and outs of the LVM file system. A quick scan of a few Linux help forums found this wonderful page that explained exactly how to mount a Fedora LVM volume while booted up from My Ubuntu live CD.

Of course, in order to get access to My own home directory, I had to mount the file system as read-write instead of read-only, and gave Myself permission(s) to wreak havoc with the command sudo chmod 777 ...

... Did a quick Samba shuffle over to the Windows system ...

... And dumped another 30 gigabytes of files across the network.

(CD tray slides out; Astreja K. switches Her KVM switch to other computer) Ah, it's done!


I now have a shiny new Fedora Core 9 installation, instead of the rather neurotic FC6/FC10 system that recently expired.

Best of all... My sound card works again!

Life is good.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My computer has been taken hostage by mimes!

As I sit here, frittering away the wee hours of Saturday night / Sunday morning, I ponder the dire fate that has befallen one of My computers.

For reasons yet unknown to Me, I am bereft of audio output. The trouble started when I upgraded this system to Fedora Core 10, long-jumping all the way from Fedora Core 6. The hardware *was* working just fine before I made the decision to upgrade.

Ironically, it took Me a while to notice that the sound was MIA -- I was too busy editing stories and working with My new graphics tablet and ranting on various Internet fora. And then I continued to be too busy to fix it.

*sigh* But I'm going to make the time to fix it. You never know when you might want to listen to a friend's MP3 composition, or watch a Richard Dawkins lecture, or even just hear something go *Click* or *Bloop* -- Yes, you heard that correctly. I am currently clickless and bloopless.

(grabs valkyrie helmet and battle axe, and sallies forth in search of Linux RPM's and sound configuration HOWTO's)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

One Hundred Minutes of Solitude

This evening, I actually made some progress on the crawlspace under the house. I went in there with no illusions, and lots of equipment, including goggles, rubber gloves, safety shoes, and a P100-rated half-mask respirator.

In a bit more than an hour and a half, I mucked out four garbage bags' worth of sundry unpleasant substances ranging from wood-chip insulation to nuggets of *bleah* fossilized cat poop.

I also took a hacksaw to some old ABS drainpipes and vent pipes, and capped them off. This clears the way for finally dismantling the unused shower in the mud porch bathroom, and removing the old closet flange. Once the floor has been properly supported from below, the newly-cleared area will become the kitchen pantry, and a new toilet and sink will be installed in a much, much smaller bathroom.

Probably by a contractor. There is a certain charm to doing all of one's own renovations, but I'd rather have a professional plumber do the roughing-in.

Because I really want to have that bathroom operational for this year's Jól party.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I can see My desk from here!

This is... amazing. I actually have more than two square feet of clear space in front of Me, right this very instant!

Slowly but surely, I'm catching up on various projects and not starting any new ones. For Me, this is a bit of a change-of-pace: The usual script runs something like this...
  • Decide to move fixtures in mud porch bathroom because pipes keep freezing in uninsulated crawlspace below.
  • Notice that floor is clearly not level, and defer plumbing until this is rectified.
  • Go into crawlspace, muck out a bunch of garbage, go off to do other things.
  • Fridge expires of old age. Erect temporary, level pallet in back of mud porch to hold new fridge and freezer, because floor still hasn't been levelled.
  • Haul some more crap out of crawlspace. Go off to do more pleasant things.
  • Winter sets in. Temperature and humidity changes cause back door to stick occasionally. Make mental note to replace door.
  • While under the porch in sub-zero weather, hastily installing some extra insulation, make observation that the mud porch floor could benefit from a new beam and teleposts to support that cranky back door.
  • Spring arrives. Latch on back door deadbolt finally expires and is replaced.
  • Call contractors for telepost estimates.
  • Invest in good-quality respirator, in anticipation of a thorough clean-out of the junk in the crawlspace.
  • Rediscover bag of plumbing parts originally intended for bathroom re-plumbing. Seriously think about hiring a plumber to do the work... After the floor has been reinforced and properly levelled.
  • Finally go into crawlspace to finish that clean-out, and try not to feel guilty about the almost-finished roof on the Cat Gazebo.
That's My story, and I'm sticking to it...

...60% off triple-glazed windows? Where, where? (runs off in search of ladder and measuring tape)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Artichokes and doorbells

Ah, the wonders of the Internet! Here I am, with a busted doorbell at the Parental Units' home, and a bag of raw artichokes in the fridge. Knowledge, precious and useful knowledge, is but a query away.

(yawns and squints at page) Mm. Voltage from the stem to the artichoke heart should read 18 volts AC...

...Or am I supposed to steam the transformer and scrape off the secondary winding, then dip the solenoids in garlic butter?

(types "Obfuscation" into search engine and ends up on a page entitled "Medical Writing")


All right, that's it. No more Ms. Nice Guy.

(seizes Her Clue-By-Four™ and chases Insomnia Gremlins down hallway with Extreme Prejudice)