Well, I decided to mke2fs the damn thing.. Apparently, something exploded on my hard drive and threw random bits everywhere. I wrote a tiny program to try and find the 0xEF53 magic number marking a superblock -- found nothing in 1GB of data. I'm still trying to figure that one out especially considering that I did a byte-by-byte check. I should have gotten back hundreds or thousands or millions of false positives, but I got nothing.
I dd'd the first meg or so of the disk, found all sorts of aincent garbage (OnTrack disk manager, anyone?). Perhaps the kernel exploded after hitting the 5% reserved space for root... Hmm.. Found some text files that got turned into binary files from all of the flying bits. Oh well, at least it wasn't important data, and I do have a lot of it backed up on a CD somewhere..
Some of the corruption may have hit my /usr partition as well. MP3s were not playing nicely from XMMS. I ran `rpm -V xmms' and discovered that libmpg123.so had a bad md5sum. I just hope there aren't more problems.. Hmm.. Perhaps this had something to do with the solar flares (though I'd put that at about 3% probability). Maybe I need more shielding...
I'm probably going to write up several mini-howtos so my users can figure out how to mount their home directories via SMB, print to the Novell printers, and use SSH instead of telnet. Pretty generic, but who knows how well things will work. Also, I played around with the login scripts on our main Solaris box. People can now safely get bash running by creating a ~/.iwantbash file. I couldn't just change /etc/passwd to point to /usr/local/bin/bash, because there are other systems in the NIS domain that are Linux boxen with /bin/bash instead. Also, people can get GNU ls to work in color now with a ~/.iwantcolorls file. Hopefully, I put everything in the right place so the scripts people have written won't be broken..
*Yawn* *stretch* Ooh.. Actually did some work today. Did some more mangling on login scripts. What a mess those things are. However, I am really beginning to like RedHat's /etc/profile.d idea. I can just make tiny scriptlets and have them get run from either /etc/profile or /etc/bashrc (since it's an either-or situation when you start a shell, AFAICT). I suppose I'll be tinkering on über-scripts that can startup both Solaris and Linux pretty soon. Then again, I shouldn't play too much, since I won't actually have an opportunity to test them (users get a tad peeved when the system reboots in the middle of a week-long run of data analysis..). Oh well.
One of my roommates is coming to the apartment to visit. Yeah, he's not living here this summer. Stayed at home. Whatever. Of course, myself and the other roommate that are around here are happy he's coming, since his car works and we can finally go buy some food. It's either that or try your luck on some 7-month-old beef in the freezer. We're planning on going to X-Men this weekend, and I have another friend I should invite to come along. I hope I'll remember.
Found some school songs encoded in .au and .ra format on the Marching Band's homepage. I think I'll vorbize them, though I don't know how well 8-bit mono works..
I had a refreshing weekend. Went out to see X-Men with two of my roommates and another friend on Friday -- very good show. Actually ate real food over the weekend, which was a nice change (our primary vehicle was down, so we hadn't been to the supermarket for a few weeks). However, I wish I'd had a decent chance to do some hacking..
Today I continued mucking around with login scripts -- that task will probably never end.. Solaris doesn't set $USER.. How weird. Oh well, I suppose it's not a big deal.
I played around with bash prompts a little too much. Man, tinkering with a cool color prompt can be really fun. Unfortunately, I have other stuff to do.
We're currently looking to find a cross-platform (well, just Solaris and Linux) backup solution. Right now, we're backing up the Solaris boxes with ufsdump, and the Linux boxes aren't getting backed up. We have BRU, though I'm not sure if we have enough licenses for the whole server cluster. I'll have to see if Amanda is a good choice, though we'll probably need to add SSL support.
We just put Samba on a few of our Solaris servers. It's working fine, but people are having trouble finding them in the browse lists. I'm not sure how stable SMB workgroups are when you have a large number of nodes. Many hosts seem to fade in and out of existence. We talked to the NT guys and they say that they have problems too. I'm sure that being on a /21 network doesn't help. NMB lookups still work, and a person can just type in `\\server\share', so I guess it's not a big deal.
I should really keep writing some documentation for the RLG Security Project that I'm trying to coordinate. At least I'm writing some similar documentation for my users at work, so maybe it won't be a big problem..
Decklin: Yeah, I saw that $LOGNAME is getting set, which is good for those systems around here that don't have a version of `id' that can print out just the user name..
I think I'll be staying away from Windows 2000. My roommates installed Win2k Pro on one of their systems Friday night. They re-installed on Sunday night. NTOSKRNL.EXE was crashing for some reason. I tried replacing it with a known-good copy (using Wine, EXPAND.EXE, and a few DLLs), but that didn't work. The system just wasn't giving me enough information about what was going wrong. I tried booting with a bootlog, but the system didn't tell me where that log actually was! Grr..
Oh well, it's not my computer ;-)
Anyway, I just had Netscape crash because I hit shift-insert to paste again. I was working with a two-button mouse for way too long. Now I just need to get a decent video card. A lot of computers around here have some really nice displays (I'm sitting in front of a 17" Dell/Sony Trinitron), but the video cards only have 1MB of memory around here. Somebody wasn't thinking.
I copied 8.5 GB of data last night. I thought something had barfed as `du' clearly showed 17GB. Oops.. du counts things in blocks! *sigh*
I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to put together a 10 or 100Mbps switch using Linux or *BSD just for my apartment. I found out that the hub we have is a piece of dung (I strung a 50 ft. Ethernet cable around the place, then plugged it into the hub. Collisions galore, even though nothing was connected to the other end..). Sheesh, any computer with a PCI bus has a Gb/s backplane, and you can add ports for $50 or less. Something to think about..
Well, I'd better go write some more documentation..
Tired. I got up early this morning. It's something that I do on Saturdays for some reason. It turned out to be somewhat of a good thing, as I gave Dan a ride to his GRE test this morning. He was planning on leaving at 8:00 to get to the exam, which was supposed to start at 8:30. It takes half an hour to walk there, though I don't think he knew that. He usually only walks half that far to get to class and work -- the exam was held on the opposite end of the campus.
The Minnesota campus is pretty big, it's on both sides of the Mississippi up here (granted, the river isn't too wide here, it's about as far north as barges ever get).
I was expecting to chat with Sarah, as she usually gets bored while working as a lab attendant on Saturdays. Turned out my AIM client needed to get kicked -- it was showing out-of-date info on who was online. My roommates were talking with her, so I was getting a bit confused.
Anyway, we're all going to the dance performance she's been doing the audio setup for. Hopefully it'll be good. She's been having a crappy time lately -- lost her keys to her apartment, car, and the audio studio she's been working at. Also lost a CD folder thingy with ~30 discs in it. Thinking of buying her some music for Christmas, though I don't know what.
Roommate just heading to bed, so I better quit.
Tired again, though I got up later today. That usually happens, too. I didn't get up early enough to keep Josh from waking up Dan two hours earlier than he had to be up. Josh thought we were all leaving to see a dance performance at noon. Sarah had told me that it was 2:00. I'd asked her, since I thought I heard Josh say noon, which seemed really weird for a Sunday (or, well, any day). Anyway, I didn't correct him until this morning, as I thought I'd just mis-heard him -- I didn't know he actually thought it was the wrong time.
Anyway, it was a good show. Five different dance routines. They were all pretty cool, though the last one was the best, IMHO. It had some good music. I guess I first thought it seemed pretty superficial and simple, depending on the music too much. Maybe it was, but it got the biggest applause, and it felt inspiring. I'm not sure what it was supposed to inspire, though ;-)
I have yet another programming assignment due on Tuesday at midnight. I have a test this week, then finals start next week. I should try to attend all my classes, get some review in for the finals. I also need to try to fit in some time with an advisor, though I don't know if that will happen.
I think I forgot to mention earlier that the wireless project is finally getting off the ground at work. Students, faculty, and staff can log in with their x.500 IDs, and they can even set up a `permanent' (semester-long) account that doesn't require them to keep logging in.
It's still a very poor security model. I wish it could be made better, but I just don't have the time or resources to research the options as a student.
Of course, I'm lazy. I don't know why that is. I've blamed it on my lack of female companionship, but it's impossible to say if that's it or not. Sarah continues to fill up a big chunk of my thought process... I hope I can come to some resolution to this stuff rolling around in my head. Unfortunately, Christmas break will probably be a stressful time for me in this regard, no matter if she becomes closer to me or not. Well, I don't know if I could keep my thoughts straight if we became closer -- I've never been in that sort of situation. I do know that I'll start having strange thoughts if things stay the way they are now...
Hmm... I wonder if I'll be bringing my computer home this Christmas. I haven't had two monitors at home before. Dunno if I'd bring both or not. I should just buy a laptop like Dan's. Crap.. I'm almost ready to shell out what Dan did to get his. It was like $2500! I'd want something lighter, though. His feels like a brick (though he usually has two batteries installed at a time to increase the time he can spend away from a wall jack). Needs more research.
He's been having some trouble with his wireless card. He thought it could do 128-bit WEP, but I guess not. I've been asking some questions on the TCWUG list, though his computer is running XP, so I'm not going to get into too many details.
Sometimes I'm amazed at how good XP is. Linux is awesome as well. The difference to me seems to be that XP seems to be a lot of flashy stuff without a huge amount of substance. Linux is the other way around. Well, that's my impression at least.
Well, the thoughts have stopped flowing for today...
Heavily considering shelling out cash for a Dell Inspiron 4100 with a UXGA display. My roommate got an 8100, but it's too heavy (and expensive!) I'm looking for something lighter than that, and not too likely to kill my pocketbook. I can get a configuration I like for about $1700. Well, I'll probably later spend another $60-$100 on a few hundred megs of RAM, plus some more for a wireless ethernet adapter.
I'd really like to get a laptop with Linux pre-installed, or no operating system at all, but that's not going to happen with the prices they're going at these days. I just can't justify the sacrifice when it comes to that much money.
Anyway, I guess I'm not sure if I really need the high-res screen. I'd probably be happy with SXGA (1280x1024) or SXGA+ (1400x1050). If I do get the UXGA screen, it'll have a pretty awesome DPI, though -- about 140! That also means that plenty of stuff will be downright tiny. Oh well..
I haven't been doing any open-source coding lately, but I've submitted a few bug reports! :-p I'm sure plenty of folks groan at that... It would seem to me that anyone who would like to contribute to open source should do some digging in bug databases. There are plenty of things to fix ;-)
Sounds like Sarah's presentation of her audio project went well, which is good. I, on the other hand, just managed to not finish my last programming assignment in Internet Programming. Oh well.
That class is kind of weird, though. The average score for the homeworks is something like 47/50 and the median score is 50/50 on most of them! Isn't that insane? It's not like they're the easiest projects in the world, though we weren't getting killed by them. I have to think, either the graders are too nice, or the students enjoy programming too much ;-)
Female voice: Is Dan there?</em>
Me: No. (as I start walking to the whiteboard) Can I take a message?
Female voice: This is Sara (I pick up the marker) from Hillel (I put down the marker). We're having an event tomorrow for Israeli Independence Day. (The image of a riot comes to my head -- of course, there was one just the other week when we won a hockey game..) If he's interested, have him call me at 555-1234.
Me:(Pretending to take the message) ...1234. Okay, I'll pass that along..
Dan's actually an atheist (though he was raised a Jew), but someone got him on Hillel's mailing list. I've been instructed to throw out mailings from them, etc..
My mental imagery is probably out of line, but there has been a lot of chatter between the Israeli and palestinian/Arab communities on campus (as I'm sure has been the case all over the world lately).
It's just weird how the people in these communities interpret the words from those on the other side. Seems like they can't even agree on simple facts. Of course, the conversations are flooded with hearsay. It seems like you'd have to tear down everything -- all of the supposed `knowledge' that people have -- and go back through with independent historians to clear up all of the misconceptions.
We can have peace in the region.. It'll just take a hundred years or so of research...
I've been sleep-deprived along with others.. It gets to be really bad when I have homework that I've procrastinated on, and then I have to stay up really late working on it.. I don't think this would be a problem if I had a regular job and could leave work at work.. Of course, I'm also a person that requires more sleep than the average (well, that's been my experience, at least).
Not sure why, but I tend to need 9-10 hours, but maybe I have other problems that contribute to that. For instance, factor into that the fact that it usually takes me 30 minutes or more to fall asleep. I'm also a fairly light sleeper, so the diesel trucks and buses running by on University Ave. don't really make life any easier..
I tend to sleep really well when I go home. In my childhood, I'd only be awakened by the garbage trucks that came by once a week, weather, and people clanging around in the kitchen.. Now I have to deal with planes and trucks all of the time, plus roommates and neighbors that turn up the volume too much..
I guess it's good that I have to move -- I just hope I can find a place in a quieter neighborhood..
Thinking that maybe I should start saying ``free and open software'' instead of ``open source software.'' Might be good, as ``free'' gets in there somewhere and strengthens ``open.'' However, the die-hard ``free software'' folks might feel it dilutes the word ``free.'' Hard to say.
Still wishing this week didn't exist. I want to get back to trying to have a life, rather than avoiding studying for finals and doing some projects.
This morning I realized that Sarah really brings out a part of me that I think has always been around, hiding beneath the surface. It's nothing fancy, just some of my silliness -- my imaginitive side that's been hiding for a long time. I think she helps me loosen up and bring that more to the front. Maybe that's why I like her so much. Hard to say.
One of my roommates graduated the other day, though he still has to take finals.
The joys of going to a huge school (what? 40,000? something like that..)
I shouldn't have come here, though I'm glad for friends I've made. I especially appreciate meeting Sarah, but it's still unlikely that will amount to anything.
Well, it's not like I can go and do it again. I just want to move forward, finish up classes this summer and clean up some somewhat loose ends at work. I just hope I can keep in touch with Sarah and other friends.
It'll be a huge load off when I get out of college. It's been too long.
Woke up with a strange feeling today, like something bad is going to happen. Maybe something good is going to happen. More likely, nothing is going to happen.
Dan, Kari, Adam, and I went to buy Friday tickets for X2 last night, then stopped in Borders for a while, and finally spent 45 minutes or so at Applebee's doing Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary Edition trivia. I think I got the most questions right ;-)
I was kind of surprised to know so many answers. I guess I'm much better at the 20th Anniversary version than the other versions, though I'm not quite the right age to be really good. I think some of Erin's older friends can totally beat my ass at it ;-)
I was getting annoyed this afternoon. I was trying to take a nap, since my upstairs neighbors were being quiet for once. I got called by both of my parents independently, plus my laptop was annoying the crap out of me by trying to compile stuff all day long. The hard drive makes very loud clicking noises when the head moves back and forth, so it can be really distracting.
I'd IMed Dan, but he was being unresponsive (I have a knack for messaging people just before they step away from the keyboard), so I went to take a shower. I'd been working up the guts to yell at people for not talking to me when I noticed Adam had left me a voicemail about going to Ground Zero tonight. I called him up and he even said my name's on the list to get in for free.
I guess I've been on the list before, but I didn't know it. That's kind of neat. I never figured myself for someone to be on a list. I suppose this one's nothing special, but still...
Anyway, now I'm doing some laundry so I'll have some clean clothes when I go. Not that it will matter after I dance for 30 seconds, but I like to at least make an effort..
While I wait for that, I think I'm going to go buy some carbonated beverages. I think I'll try and find some of that Mountain Dew Live Wire stuff. Is that the name? I forget. Whatever it is, it's orange.
Went to Spike's to get some grillage. At first, I was a little concerned that things would be a bit boring, but I guess that's because nobody had started cooking anything yet ;-)
Talked a bit with Dan, and mentioned the Apple ][ screensaver. Told him to befriend me on LiveJournal, and also mentioned that there are a bunch of other things you can get through the RSS feed syndication system on LJ, including comics.
Other than that, I chatted a bit with Kjersten (not quite sure if that's how she spells it), and convinced Dan to regale us with tales of his travels. I thought he'd been on more than 4 trips across the pond, but I guess I feel better now knowing that he only has me beat by one (though that first trip to Norway was when I was only a baby and couldn't even sit up for more than a few seconds at a time—or so the story goes..)
I got reminded that Dan ran into trouble with people going on strike. Lots of people seem to have trouble with that when traveling in Europe. My second trip to Norway, which took place when I was in 7th or 8th grade, involved us taking a harrowing train journey from Copenhagen to Oslo because some airport workers had gone on strike. We ended up getting to our destination, just 18 hours late or something like that...
Kjersten had lived in Scotland while taking some classes for a while, so she was excited when Dan mentioned his trip there. I guess they both actually knew someone from the Milwaukee area that had been involved with both of their trips too.
The rest of the group there talked about a lot of different things, running from racial stereotypes to racial stereotypes in porn. I didn't really have much to add to that conversation, but I thought it was interesting that Kari mentioned at some point that she knew another Korean in school, but both of them were adopted, which I guess confused a lot of people. Anyway, I just thought that was interesting since I grew up with an adopted Korean in my grade, and her brother was in the same grade as my brother..
After that, Kari took us all on in a few rounds of Halo, and beat all our asses. I may have to try again sometime. It takes me a few times to get my brain to understand game controls like that.
I think I do better with inverted controls in Halo (pointing up makes you look down, and vice-versa), but I generally prefer to have one less axis of control to worry about. I've kind of forgotten how I play in Quake, but I think I generally just use the up and down arrows on the keyboard to propel me, then use the mouse to look up and down (non-inverted) and turn left and right. I generally don't like being able to look in a direction different than the direction I'm moving..
Anyway, stuff happened.
Blah, blah, blah..
Went to Cafe Latté with Dan, Kari, Spike, Sarah, and Josh. The last time Sarah had tried to bring us (well, the last time I'd been invited along, at least), we sort of got snowed out. The place ended up being closed that time, so we went to Ciatti's next door instead.
Anyway, finally got to eat at the intended target this time. I don't think any of us really knew how the system worked there, so we probably ended up buying more food than what we needed. I got a large salad, a sandwich, and a drink, which all added up to around $13—a bit much. I think the next time I go, I'll just get a small salad along with a drink (or water), and spend money on some of the nice desserts they have there.
We had some pretty good conversation, too. Somehow, Spike and Kari seem to induce topics related to Asian culture, which is cool but odd at the same time. As far as I understand, neither of them grew up learning much about Chinese and Korean culture, respectively. The American education system didn't help out much in this regard, since it's generally so Europe-centric.
Still, I made mention of the fact that Erik's now in China, so we have a guinea pig of sorts to test out our cultural theories ;-) I gave Sarah his e-mail address since she apparently didn't know it..
This might not have come up if it weren't for the fact that Sarah and I sat across the table from each other for once. I don't think that's happened for years.. She usually ends up in the corner or something because Josh's left-handedness causes conflicts.. I was again surprised at how easily we talk, given the chance. Usually, I worry that she doesn't like to talk to me, but times like that remind me that we're still friends.
Anyway, good friends, good food, and good entertainment afterwards when we all watched The Big Lebowski at JED's place. What more could you ask for on a holiday (well, other than a non-sick Erin—get better! ;-)
Well, I came back to my place after watching The Animatrix and waited to watch The Daily Show. I didn't want to have weird Animatrix dreams...
Anyway, while I'm waiting, I hear one of my remaining drives click and spin down.
All of the drives seem to be having problems now. Not sure if turning down the fan is what did it. Hopefully not.
I guess it's good I didn't buy a Gameboy Advance SP while I was out with Dan at Best Buy this evening.. I did pick up some CDs. Free All Angels by Ash, and Golden State by Bush.
Dodecahedron: a 12-sided solid. Presumably, “do” = 2, and “deca” = 10. Add the two together, and you get 12.
Google is not helping me to find what a 101-sided object is called. Yeah, I just said “object” because I don't exactly know what to call the things—apparently a polyhedron is something fairly specific..
Anyway, I spent the (late) evening over at JED's place, mostly watching Beth debate some azn (Darin?) on the many facets of the music group U2. We tried to convince her to start an online journal, but it would probably be pointless as she's selling her computer soon anyway. We all got her AIM account, which again, might be pointless.
I spent most of my time outside, after I beat down Josh at a few rounds of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Before that, I tried to get people to watch the John Corbett show Lucky, but there were people in the room who had been drinking and the shaky-camera effect was making them nauseous..
Anyway, I found the conversation outside to be pretty entertaining, though once I got a chair and sat down, the mosquitos started attacking voraciously. I think I'm well on my way to fulfilling my yearly quota of mosquito bites...
Well, fun was had. Now we get to see if I feel like being awake when my dad and my brother come up tomorrow morning to go to a “Ham Fest”-like event. Why anyone would want to do stuff from 7 AM to 1 PM on a Saturday is beyond me (fortunately, my dad and brother will spare me until at least 9:30..)
Just turned on my apartment's air conditioner. I feel accomplishment at waiting this long, though I guess it's nothing really great. I think we once had the A/C running in March when Josh, Dan, and I lived with Seth. Of course, the old U Village apartment was pretty much a big greenhouse.
It's hit 80 degrees inside my apartment daily for the past few weeks—must be too much insulation. It's hit that temperature now, but it's warmer outside and my mom is staying here tonight. She came up yesterday to do some stuff at a quilt show, and slept here last night. I felt bad because my room was a bit cooler than the living room. I suppose that's because of my computers..
Anyway, I dropped her off at RiverCentre in St. Paul this morning, and I'll pick her up before supper.
My car was running on fumes by the time I got back to Minneapolis, so I stopped at the place on 10th and University to get some money (closest TCF ATM to my place these days) and gas.
I went home and finished up watching season 3 of Deep Space Nine. The Star Trek folks really did an excellent job on the extra features..
Then I got some lunch and went over to the IT Career Center to look at some jobs. A few interesting things, but not much.
I stopped by Erin's work to say hello, and went out and sat listening to her and Beth when they went on a smoke break. John came out too, and I tried to pull a name out of him for a job lead, but he couldn't remember who he was thinking of the last time we talked..
Anyway, I'm just glad I decided to stop by there, as I figured that Erin had left already. Hope her (and Beth's) trip goes well.
I had a minor incident with my car yesterday. I was just a few blocks from home, driving down 4th St when I got stuck behind a moving van-style truck trying to turn onto the I-35W exit ramp. I guess the ramp lights must have been turned on, because he didn't go forward like I expected, and one of the posts hanging down in back of the truck clipped my headlamp and hood.
The damage is minor, but a quick glance at part prices on the Internet did not make me happy. Presumably, junkyard parts would be a lot cheaper (plus, I don't necessarily need to replace the hood, though it would be nice to have it look normal). Anyway, I'll get the car looked at on Thursday or Friday, and get the headlamp replaced as quickly as I can (though, amazingly, neither bulb broke—just the glass enclosure). I'm still thinking about what I want to do about the hood.
I brought my new computer to work today, just to see how well it works with a moderately good rooftop antenna. I could pick up a signal on every channel, though a few of them didn't always work very well. I'm not sure if that's due to a poor cable or what. I know that the analog channels had some pretty nasty junk pop up from time to time. Anyway, in a few days, I hope to bring the system down to my parents' place and see what sort of a signal I get there. On good days, they probably get as good or better reception than we have in Hudson (my parents have a bigger antenna and an amplifier), but it's hard to say how powerful the digital stations are in comparison…
Lots more stuff going into the dumpster today at work, although things seemed to have a lot more value today. A bunch of FibreChannel cards and other adapters that should probably be recycled rather than trashed (actually, the whole dumpster is largely paper and computer equipment). However, it looks like anyone looking to go dumpster diving will have to sift through a huge amount of stuff to get anything useful.
Oh, almost forgot. I plucked a copy of NeXTStep out of the stuff sliding down our makeshift chute today. I'll have to see if it is a full copy of a version appropriate for Dan's NeXT box.
Edit: Well, it turned out that the NeXT software was for i486/Pentium, so it went into the dumpster.
Wandered over to Dan & Erin's place after having a late lunch at Panera. I was bored, and I knew that I'd just be climbing up the walls in my apartment. Of course, I ended up staying pretty bored once I arrived because Erin and Spike were watching the Packers-Chargers game, which seemed to be moving really slowly to me. But, then again, football is almost always boring to me—even years of playing in the band at football games has not changed that. Still, Spike dozed off once or twice, so I suppose I fit in today…
In my boredom, I basically wandered into the mantra of “I wish I had a girlfriend,” though I don't know if I would have been any less bored if I did have one… I also had the strange thought that the girl I had a crush on in high school was going to suddenly burst in with Dan and the others who were out. That would have been a wacky scene, but it never happened. I just stayed bored, ate an apple/cinnamon muffin, tried to keep Elvis away from food he's not supposed to eat, and gagged whenever Erin flipped back to the “Bible Code” show that was on the History Channel.
I stayed for The Simpsons (which was pretty good, since it made fun of a lot of TV Christmas specials of the past) and then headed home. All in all, meh.
So, I went to a great New Year's party—and I didn't even have to go through metal detectors or pass armed guards. Yes, indeed, my New Year's Eve was Dick Clark-free. In fact, having the only appropriate synchronized timekeeping device in the house, I had the duty of marking the countdown (it was cheap—you should get one).
I was surprised to see four DJs, as I had been told there would be only two or three. Then again, perhaps the miscalculation is due to considering Simmons a “friend” rather than a “DJ.” Anyway, they all did good work. Of course, it was also good to see Thosquanta in action, finally. I think most of the songs in the set last night could be apprecated by a not insignificant portion of the general public. So, I knew them before they were stars, sorta.
There was some food there (wouldn't have been a party without it). Some of your average snackages like cheese, crackers, and mixed nuts, but there was other stuff like Dan's peanut brittle and (Ooh! Ahh!) Ultimate brittle. Which nobody ate, of course. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Beth's artichoke dip, which was…artichokey.
I was trying to be at least moderately sociable, but it didn't quite happen. I especially thought it would be good to chat with Beth a bit, since I only run into her once every few months. Unfortunately, our attempts at conversation went downhill quickly. It has seemed in the past like we've got some weird yin-yang thing going on, but it's more likely that we don't have anything in common whatsoever ;-)
It felt in some ways like I was Mr. Faux Pas for the evening, saying and occasionally doing the wrong things. I accidentally sipped my champagne before midnight—I suppose that means a year of bad luck or something. Oh well, I balanced it all out by enjoying the music and dancing about as much as I could.
Unfortunately, my overactive sweat glands required me to cool off outside a few times. It was really disturbing to see steam rising from my shirt. That shouldn't happen! I'm not a cup of coffee!
Anyway, I guess I was surprised that we never really got many people dancing at once until the end of the evening. I thought that if I did it, more people would get going. Accounting for the fact that I wasn't drinking, I thought a bit about Cuervo Man, though lacking an imposing presence or voice myself, I have to leave the more boisterous activity to the professionals.
The drive home wasn't too bad, as I only had to dodge two police cars who had pulled people over. I dropped off one passenger, though I realize I accidentally didn't see “no turn on red” signs at least twice. I hate those things, though they do seem prudent every once in a while.
Waking up was a very elongated process today, and I did have a slight headache due to lack of sleep and blood vessels that were still constricted by caffiene. The sound of the hard drive on one of my computers clicking for several hours didn't help matters either.
Okay, that sounded a bit down, but I really did have a good time. Now I have to figure out something to do with Erik today or tomorrow before he has work and classes start up again.
Well, shortly after I made yesterday's post, I got a call from my mom telling me that my step-grandfather in Fargo had died. My grandmother had married him about a dozen years ago. She had originally been widowed when my grandfather died about two years before I was born. She was alone in her house for a few years after my youngest uncle left. I knew this day was coming, since my step-grandfather had been sick from prostate cancer and treatments for it. The thing I feel worst about is the fact that my grandmother is alone again, though I suppose the shock has been somewhat lessened for her since he had been in a nursing home for a couple of years.
Anyway, funeral arrangements had not yet been made, but were potentially scheduled for Saturday, meaning that I would have been headed up to Fargo today to spend the night. Since Erik was only free on Thursday and Friday this week, I was encouraged to see if he was available. I went over to his place to hang out, but also intending to have us join up with Dan at some point.
I got there as Erik and his roommate were about a third of the way through The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen. A pretty wacky movie, but what do you expect from Terry Gilliam? Oh, and a young Uma Thurman. Mmm.
When that ended, we selected Finding Nemo for the second flick of the evening. That was a good pick, since Dan hadn't seen it yet. Of course, getting Dan over to Erik's place was a small task, since the address Erik lives at in St. Paul can also be found in Minneapolis. At any rate, he brought along Laura (who Erik hadn't met) and Russell (who Erik knew from Tai Chi).
We chatted a bit, and I learned of things like Sarah's string of Ford Foci. Also, I found out that we have to wait yet another month to get a court date, but that's okay since I will now be attending a funeral on the 7th.
After that, we headed over to Annie's Parlour to meet up with Sarah and Josh. The mystery staircase was discovered hiding in plain sight due to our placement in the “smoking” section. We also had to listen to the disgusting KFC urban legend moments before Sarah and I were served our chicken sandwiches. Other than that, we had a pretty good time. Dan even had a fit of spontanaeity by putting on Laura's coat and scarf. I figured he ended up looking like a very distinguished gay bohemian, but I didn't really vocalize on that.
After that, time was spent at Dan's place, mostly watching TV (Family Guy was a really good episode last night, then we saw Jack Black and Cristopher Walken on a repeat of Conan). We also watched the video of some freaky Japanese guy beating Super Mario Bros. 3 in less than 11 minutes. I can barely pass the first level in that game ;-)
Anyway, it turns out that Erik does some of his teaching at the school right across the street from my building, so we might start seeing him more often.
Woo! I just coined a phrase: World Dominazn! This is entirely appropriate due to my Total World Domination t-shirt, and entirely inappropriate due to my Norwegian heritage.
Though, I suppose I can't really take credit. Google says that people and quake teams have been using the screen name of DominAzn for a while… But, “world dominazn” is new.
Thank you. Thank you. You're so kind.
Hmm, I really need to rediscover Dan's umbrelloquy, though…
Okay, I lied. My computer is still analyzing music. I had forgotten that I copied most of Dan's music collection off the living room computer one time, and I'd also copied some music back when I worked at CSOM (unfortunately, most of that turned out to be jazz, which I wasn't a huge fan of…) But, I think it'll be done soon (/me crosses fingers).
I need to find a program to tweak the volumes of the songs on my computer though. iTunes does this automatically, but my old player doesn't have this functionality built in. There are some plugins I can use, but one I tried in the past didn't pre-analyze the songs—it only went on the moment-to-moment volume of a file, which just seemed to mess things up more (and is generally not what I want anyway—I complained about this type of behavior the other day). There are some other tools I can try, but I'm not sure how well they work.
Anyway, this analyzer program is still doing a fairly good job so far. Having more music available to go between helps a lot. I've got something like 6770 music files (though many are duplicates or silly files), so there's plenty of wiggle room for the algorithms. One nifty thing is that the software is good at finding duplicate files. I've been getting files common to my normal collection and Dan's old one show up right next to each other in playlists. Sometimes the affinity for music by the same band is a little too heavy, though. I suppose I should just be glad I don't have a lot of stuff by Everclear ;-)
Went to Adam's birthday and heard the band play again. And then heard the band play again. One of Spike's friends didn't get there until really late, hence the repeat. I managed to do okay in some of the crash games in Burnout 2 in the meantime, though.
In other news, it appears that Marcy Playground is actually named for the park across the street from my apartment (the playground at Marcy Open School/Holmes Park, rather than the playground at Marcy Park). Theoretically, the school was the “formative location” for one of the main guys in the band.
Blah blah blah. I stayed up too late.
Okay, so I finally found the avatar generator today. That's pretty awesome, though I guess if I were to pick on people, I'd say there weren't quite enough hairstyles or eyeglass types. But heck, it's free. BFD.
So I kinda went nuts making icons. My aforementioned difficulty with hair made it a challenge to find something that seemed appropriate for Dan, especially with his beard, but I finally came up with this:
Which seemed okay, I guess. No offense intended, Dan. But then, I thought that I'd have to do at least two more for him. He's mentioned his desire to obtain an appropriate aged scientist look when he's older. I suppose I mucked around a bit when I came up with a kooky image for him. Dan is also famed the world 'round for his sad face, and I did my best to emulate it given what was available. I suppose you could tweak these to be a bit better.
I tried doing Sarah, but I couldn't find hair that I liked. For one image, I ended up just giving her a hat (which doesn't really make sense, but it seemed good at the time), and then using a cop-out hairdo for another image. A while later, I came back and did another try with glasses.
And, what entry would be complete without some self-flagellation?
A day of waiting for me. I have an interview tomorrow, though I guess I was hoping to get a call today from one of the other places I've talked to. Now I have to see if I'll be able to get to sleep tonight and wake up at the right time tomorrow. With my luck, the power will go out at an inopportune time and kick off my alarm clock.
Over the weekend, I had the random thought of asking out an acquaintance I sort of know. I wanted to ask Dan her phone number since I don't know it, but the opportunity didn't seem to arise. Oh well, the chance of her being in town, uninvolved, and interested is around 1 in 1000. Still at least an order of magnitude better chance than anyone else I've come across so far…
She used to work on campus, but that may have changed. I guess I'll try wandering over to the U after tomorrow's interview.
Crap. I have to find out where the hell MCAD is…
I'll never remember all of the stuff that happened today—not that it was especially interesting.
My late-morning job interview at MCAD went okay. Just okay. I think I've really lost a lot of my confidence in how quickly I can learn computer software, hardware, and whatever leftovers there are. The job would be interesting and I'd be at a school, one of those places where the mythical female is rumored to spend time. The job would largely involve Macs running OS X, which means I'd have to spend the first few months learning a lot. My Unix/Linux experience would be both good and bad.
It sounded like the job would be a semi-management position, where I'd have to direct others to do things. I've never really done that before. The job would also involve some significant amount of communication with other people. At Carlson, I didn't really talk to many people other than my boss, so I don't know how comfortable I would be with it. Heck, I know it would be a challenge to talk at least some of the time. I'm quiet—that's just the way things are for me.
Both the MCAD job and the Secure Computing job would require a lot more interpersonal communication than I'm really used to. Well, I don't really know. I got to be very bored at the Carlson School since I was pretty much stuck in a corner by myself in a room with a hevay door. I didn't have other people to work with, I just had other people sitting in the room with me. At Adaptec, I did more stuff with the other testing guys there. We all spent the bulk of our time in the same room without any partitions between us, so there was more free communication.
I'm certain that I do better work when I have to interact with other people on a daily basis. I think this is why I did better in high school than in college. I know that I've felt in the past that work should feel more like high school than college—at least in the sense that you get more interaction between people where you're working with others rather than just sitting next to them. Well, maybe my college/high school experiences were just weird…
Anyway, on the way to MCAD, I found myself to be lost and found at the same time. I was trying to follow the driving directions they had on their website, but ended up going by what you get on Mapquest. Instead of taking the 11th/I-94 exit and staying on I-94, I got off on 11th. I took that until I ran into a one-way and was forced to turn (Portland, I think). That took me to Franklin, which I used to get across 35W. Then I went south on 3rd (the way you go to Little T's).
I guess I was supposed to stay on I-94 and get off at another 11th—or the same 11th, if the road just has a break in it somewhere. Whatever, I found a new way to Uptown.
After the interview, I headed over to the U. I looked around in the Elmer L. Anderson library, though I wasn't all that impressed by the ambience. I guess it's meant more for researchers slowly perusing archives than the general visitor who just wants to browse through stuff. I once had a professor who was involved with the Charles Babbage Institute, and he invited us to visit the stuff there, though I didn't really know what you were supposed to do once you got in the building. Maybe I'll figure out the process one day.
I wandered over to CSOM to talk to my old boss, but he wasn't around. I wandered next door to see if Sarah was around, though I couldn't tell if the red-haired person I saw from the back was her or not (she was busy with someone, so I didn't intrude). I wandered back to CSOM and talked to a few more people, then finally ran into my old boss as he was coming back from the Hard Times.
We chatted for an hour or so, something that used to happen perhaps a little too often when I used to work there. He kind of reminded me that I used to have all sorts of new ideas for getting things done there. I had mentioned a bunch of different software packages to him for all sorts of different things, including Fink on the Mac. That kind of boosted my confidence in the possible MCAD job, though that's still a way of making OS X a better Unix rather than making it a better Mac OS. I showed him Wikipedia, since I've been spending too much time editing pages on there rather than playing with new code lately.
I guess NTS will be taking over CSOM's network in about a year. Kind of on-campus outsourcing, so it's possible some people at the school will lose their jobs. In the very least, they'd have to get some new responsibilities. Turns out that the backup tape library hasn't been getting used at all, though there are plans in place to get IBM's Tivoli working over the summer, I guess.
After that, I checked again to see if Sarah was around, but maybe I chickened out too much before I did an adequate check. Whatever. I went across to the IT Career Center to browse their jobs. Mostly outside of Minnesota, it seemed. Secure Computing had a posting, though I can't remember if it's basically for the same job I applied for or if it was a testing position. I'll have to ask them about that when I call tomorrow and inquire about my status for the job I interviewed for two weeks ago.
I chatted a bit with Dan since I was in the neighborhood. I suppose I should see his new place at some point. We discussed the court case against Joe too, not that anything has changed on that front. Still, when I got home, I had a summons in my mailbox for the upcoming court date. I don't remember getting anything on our previous tries, so I'm surprised that something showed up this time.
Well, that's pretty much it. Except, when I was walking home, I was thinking that maybe there's a criminal offense that Joe committed in the course of this whole thing. I'm curious if there would be any way to get the police to drag him in for not having valid contact info on his properties. Ripping down the unlawful housing notices was theoretically some sort of offense, but I suppose it's not enough to arrest him or anything.
I mentioned to Dan that it might be a good idea to try one of those person locator services on the 'Net, but I guess I wouldn't want to be the person to potentially sacrifice my credit card info on some random website.
So, a lot of mediocre stuff happening today. Not exactly one for the record books.
I can't believe Anchorman hasn't come out in theaters yet. It's been quite a while since I first started seeing ads for it. Well, maybe it just feels like a long time. I think I've been seeing previews since at least Hellboy which I probably saw in April.
Today, my website got a whole lot of spam comments from nipr.mil, which is apparently the DoD's big gateway to the Internet. Always good to know that the military's computers are secure.
Oh. The Fourth… I went with my brother down to the St. Anthony Main area, where we just happened to run into Dan, Laura, Josh, and Sarah. We ended up going up to the north end of the 3rd/Central bridge and sat at the curb. The bridge was blocked off, but it's kind of good that we didn't get any closer—the curb was much more comfortable than standing for that amount of time. Still, the show was only about 15 minutes.
I took Keen Eddie over to Dan's place yesterday so we could hang out and watch that, then we went with Josh, Kari, and Laura to see Ong-Bak. It's a pretty awesome martial arts film and had a lot of surprises for those guys since it demonstrates some Thai forms rather than the Chinese and Japanese stuff they're more accustomed to. There was an unpleasant scene with a girl that almost ruined things for me just because it distantly echoed something I worried about over the years, but the fight scenes were amazing and it's worth seeing just for that.
Oh! I don't know if anyone else caught it, but there was a shout out to Steven Spielberg. On a garage door in one scene it said "Hi Spielberg" and below that "Let do it together." That's apparently verbatim, I didn't quite catch it at first, but that's what IMDB says. It's possible that the message was added digitally and was not really there while filming.
After about an hour of sitting around with our stomachs grumbling, Dan, Laura, Kari, and I went to the Macaroni Grill at Rosedale. We almost hit a bar stool that was sitting in the parking lot! I guess some guy took two from the restaurant, but forgot one or something.
It was good to be out with friends, especially relatively unattached ones (no couples were together). I had wanted Sarah to come along, but I realized later that it could have easily been burdensome for me. I must make an effort to hang out in the coming weeks, though I can't afford to go to movies and eat out every time these days.
At least the Minneapolis smoking ban will go into effect soon, so then I'll be more comfortable trying out some of the music venues in the area. Now that we have a radio station that actually plays songs by bands who are coming through town, I might manage to get out. I've just always been under the impression that it's expensive to see music. Okay, it would often be as bad as going out to a movie and getting food, but at least it's more social than sitting in a theater.
Erin wrote me a very honest note about how I pissed her off. Eesh. Sorry. I figured everyone saw me as a nice guy, albeit quiet or aloof. Well, I've got some friendship-rebuilding to do, I guess. Apologies to everyone—I've been off in my own little world, which is why I never talk about anyone else—there simply hasn't been anyone else to talk about. With repeated job trouble, I also haven't had a whole lot of spare cash, which has not exactly made me happy.
Oh well, I just have to figure out more of the free/supercheap stuff to do. I brought Keen Eddie over to Dan's place again yesterday evening, and spent some time with him, Laura, and Sarah. I'm glad they all like the show, as I haven't felt that I've had much to offer people. If I've turned them on to a cool show, that's great. They've all enjoyed seeing the actors on the show too, since many have been in other things. And, obviously the episodes just rock. I know Sarah needed the laughs.
One of Dan's roommates had us watch the Super Mario Reloaded and Final Fantasy A+ Flash animations, which were both really funny. Unfortunately, their DSL line is dog slow and they took forever to load. I just checked them right now on my cable modem, and the Super Mario one only took about 20 seconds to load. It took a few minutes last night.
Hmm. He just told me that his friends don't have or particularly want cable TV. He suggested that basic plus cable modem might be the way to go, and I'd agree.
Anyway, back to the Flash things: It's good that Dan knew how to make them nearly-full-screen. That made 'em a lot easier to enjoy, especially on the big TV ;-)
Well, that's it, I think.
Well, my company has moved from Roseville to St. Paul, and we're now situated in the triangle of land between MN-280, Energy Park Drive, and the University of Minnesota's transitway. Our first official day at the new site was on Monday, though the tech support group moved over the weekend.
I'm not completely enamored with the place, but I do think it is a significant step up. I generally like the color scheme—it's been described as "autumn," with green, yellow, orange, and other colors mixed together. Not so much brown, but that could be considered a good thing. I like our upstairs space a lot, since I can look out the windows and see downtown Minneapolis, the Witch's Hat water tower, KSTP's tower, plus the transitway and 280. We're also right between two heavily used rail lines, and it's just pretty cool to see some massive BNSF engines going by (heh, with the orangish paint scheme, they even match our building ;-)
Everyone is still figuring out the standard patterns of parking. I ended up pretty close to the middle, so I suppose it doesn't matter very much where I go. In theory the west side is the best option for me, but parking has been problematic there so far.
I like the lighting, which seems to be considerably more natural than what we had in the old building. I wandered around downtown St. Paul earlier this evening, and noticed that several buildings used the same light mounting scheme, where the lights are hung half a foot or so below the ceiling, with reflectors causing light to be diffused off the ceiling tiles. It definitely seems to make the light be distributed better, which I like. My whole work area is brighter, though it's also due to the fact that the sun comes in our windows pretty well.
There are some thermostat issues, so I'm not sure if the blinds will be open very much later on, so I might not get the view so much later. We'll have to see. I was lucky to catch a nice sunset this evening, though.
Anyway, after work, I ran to Target to get paper towels, kleenex, and toilet paper.. Somehow, I've pretty much run out of all three around the same time.
I got home and, after paying a stack of bills, was preparing to relax when I remembered that Dan, Erin, and friends were going to have their initial show as Milkbar at Station 4 in St. Paul. They produced a fairly industrial sound, which is not terribly surprising considering the folks that we've all intermingled with. It was a good first show. A few things hung in my mind, but I'll mull them over through the next few times I see them, and see how things progress. At any rate, they were probably much more acceptible to most folks than the group that came on next (oy, with the screaming and the yelling...).
Like I said earlier, I wandered around downtown St. Paul after that. I was primarily interested in looking at the construction progress on the Minnesota Public Radio studios. They have a big news ticker on the outside of the building. I'd heard a week or so ago that the folks at 89.3 vacated the broadcasting booth that they since the beginning of last year (which was taken over from the classical service). Anyway, it now looks like the addition to the MPR headquarters is done, so they're now gutting the old part of the building.
Well, the new part looks pretty nice, at any rate. Plenty of open space.
I liked wandering around downtown St. Paul. Somehow I think I like that area much more than downtown Minneapolis. I figure that I just don't like most of the new buildings that have been put up in Minneapolis since the big urban renewal project of the 1950s/1960s. St. Paul didn't mow down 40% of the downtown, so there are more relatively old buildings to add character. (Of course, much of what went down in Minneapolis was justifiably removed, but there was a lot that probably should have been kept). Other than that, the streets are narrower, and I imagine that contributes to the feel of the place.
Since a lot of folks at work are getting used to the new neighborhood, and trying to get some bearings (even though it's only 4 or 5 miles away from the old place), I've been thinking about how to get from point A to point B around there. After my St. Paul outing, I decided to try a route I'd pondered for getting between the airport and work. Not that I'll necessarily ever have to take the route, but it seemed like something good to figure out.
Anyway, in my mind, places near 280 are poorly situated for getting to the airport. You generally either have to loop around to the west or to the east. Probably the fastest route involves I-94 to Snelling, then taking the semi-secret Ayd Mill Road bypass to reach I-35E, then taking MN-5 to the airport. However, I practically get heartburn just thinking about the left turn from Snelling onto Selby Ave, just before sneaking onto Ayd Mill. Well, I suppose the three-rights-make-a-left rule might apply there..
So, I figured that one much less stressful solution would be to take Pelham Boulevard to Mississippi River Blvd, and that down to MN-5. I roughly timed it, and it ended up being just about 20 minutes, maybe a shade longer. I'll have to do an actual run at some point, but I think the I-94/Ayd Mill/I-35E/MN-5 route would only shave a few minutes off that time.
Ugh, it's late. Time for sleep.