May 2007 Archives

but what's so bad about failure?

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flashing the bios on an older motherboard with no floppy drive connected is a pain. because most manufacturers still like to make things based on windows, not having a windows machine available is also a pain. but we managed to get through all of that and successfully flash the bios, which fixed the problem with the 750 gig drive hanging the bios boot process. that managed to chew up a good bit of my monday holiday.

i also recently managed to successfully install ubuntu linux on my 2 gig flash drive. i was able to boot off it and save files and bookmarks to it, install new software, etc. pretty slick.

i had originally planned to do some cleaning around the house over my three day weekend, since i failed to make any plans. but i didn't do much. i haven't done much. i actually watched tv for a couple of hours on tuesday and wednesday. pretty rare for me, and not something i want to get into the habit of doing. this evening i worked kind of late -- but accomplished something, so that was good. around 9pm i went over to the alabama ice house to try out the new shiner 98. i sat by myself for the 1+ hour i was there, and talked to no one except the bartender when i ordered. it's enough to make me not want to go out. i'm not sure that going out somewhere and sitting by yourself not talking to anyone is any better than sitting at home by yourself wishing you were doing something. maybe one of these days i'll have to learn to meet new people. although i'll probably have to tackle my impressive mental skills in convincing myself no one would care to talk with me. at least i've still got a possible future path in writing manifestos against society, if i can get up the energy to start.

jesus and spiderman

i actually wrote this entry back on may 6th. it was the day before my server crashed. i was sort of occupied with other things, so this entry just sat around. i'm going to go ahead and push it out now, with new comments in square brackets. here goes:

woke up today and i'm still having some sinus issues. stupid sinus infections.

[the sinus infection is over. and i didn't have to go to a doctor. yea!]

i made it to kaleo, even though einstein bagels tried to screw me by making me wait for a long time (because they didn't tell me they were out of blueberry bagels and having to make more.) today's sermon was pretty nice. bill was discussing the 4th chapter of jonah, and it led him to discuss the idea of "loving a city" and the implication that you need to love people who are different than yourself. i thought he had a good way of presenting it, and something valuable to say to a lot of people who seem unaware of their biases (although maybe kaleo isn't the most appropriate church to hear that particular message, even if everyone does in some way). i wish bill would have stabbed a little harder and deeper, because i think it's a subject people need to be forced to evaluate about themselves. which isn't meant to imply i don't, it's just something i already think about so it was nice to hear bill discuss it rather bluntly from the pulpit. once it's up on the kaleo podcast page, you should go and listen to it. [remember, it's the may 6th sermon.] you can even hear bill say jonah was acting like a real ass. (which he apparently hadn't planned to work into his sermon.) it's kind of funny since i'd been surprised to hear jake (the first time he'd done a sermon at kaleo) say "sucks", "pissed", and "screwed" from the pulpit a couple of weeks ago -- then bill had to go and one up him. it doesn't bother me at all, but i wouldn't be surprised if at least a few people took some offense to it. oh well, screw 'em. ;) honestly, what it should be taken to show is that they got more concerned about one accidental language slip than the people of the city they are in -- because that's what should have been on their hearts and minds, not being offended by a word (which was accurately and appropriately used as meaning a donkey, even if the u.s. doesn't view it that way).

after church, a bunch of people went to bennigan's. after lunch, tyler showed me a couple of his pipes and his hookah (all of which he happened to have in his car). then it was off to the marquee theater to see spiderman 3 with the potts' guys (jack, jackson, and dietrich). i actually still haven't ever seen the second movie, but i'm familiar enough with the comic book characters to be okay. we saw it on the imax, and had to sit on around the third row -- but at least it was near the center. the movie was enjoyable for a giant hollywood movie. sometimes the fighting sequences moved so fast it was just sort of blurred spinning and flashing stuff. of course, having the screen go beyond your primary field of vision might have amplified that. but the storyline and action was enjoyable enough that i didn't get bored or annoyed. i wish they could have done half as good a job with the punisher movie. frank castle deserves better than that.

after the movie we met up with the potts' women. jack took the kids home and i gave sue a ride on my motorcycle to pick up their car (which was at jack's office). later we all met up their house for some ice cream and tv. it's about the only time i watch tv. speaking of tv, i haven't heard anything from boltz about the status of my new tv stand yet.

[obviously i've since gotten the tv stand and have it set up.]

when i got home, i figured out my blog had been vomitting on comments for the last few hours. sorry if anyone tried to post a comment and got back an error. apparently, my blog doesn't like it when i don't clean out the junk comment folder for over four months and over 13,000 junk comments collect in there. fortunately, i was able to run a repair on the comments database table and it was successful. i guess maybe i should look into automating database backups so it happens more consistently than when i happen to think about it and take the time to do it.

[funny how i made that statement, then was starting to look into it, and the next day my server crashed. for the record, i still haven't set up any kind of automated backup.]

i got my boltz tv stand on tuesday. i put it together and moved everything onto it but the tv. jack came over wednesday night and helped me with the tv. man, that tv is freaking heavy. now the stand for my tv cost more than the tv itself. and by a decent amount. that's kind of funny. but i think the stand looks good, and it should last through the upcoming nuclear holocaust.

thursday after work i went over to jack's office and started doing some work on the linux file server i'd built out for him. he's got an 8-drive 1.8 terabyte raid volume on it, and he wanted to set up 4 more independent drives to do backups onto. his case is a server design with 12 5.25" bays in the front, and he's got 3 sata rail enclosures that each hold 4 3.5" drives. they're pretty slick. and since sata is hot-pluggable, it's pretty cool to be able to pull and plug them while the system is up. he needed to get data off of one of them before i wiped it, so we dropped by microcenter. we picked up a pretty cool external usb 2.0 drive connector. it has connections for sata, 3.5", and 2.5" drives. we also picked up a belkin 2-port kvm switch so he can use his mac keyboard, video, and mouse for the linux server. i had a coupon from microcenter, so i picked up a 2-gig kingston flash drive for free. (quite an upgrade from my current one -- a 64 meg.) we hooked up the kvm, transferred the data, and i fdisk'ed and mkfs'ed the drives. i had realized before that the device names for the sata and raid drives might change if they are being added and removed, so while poking around online i figured out how to set disk labels and use them in the fstab file. that's a nice thing. we got it all done and i rebooted the system just to make sure everything would mount in the right places...and it hung on boot while looking at the new drives. we played around with thing and figured out it was hanging on a 750 gig drive. even though it'd seen it and mounted it okay while the system was up, it couldn't boot with it plugged in. it was already 3am or so, so i gave up for the evening. doing some research on friday, i think the problem is the sil3114 sata controller's raid feature. i'm planning on disabling the raid ability (which we aren't using on those drives) and seeing if it boots okay. once that's taken care of, then i can start crafting the rsync jobs to do backups from the raid volume to the individual disks.

i watched the graduate last night at the potts' house. i saw it back in 1991 or so, but i was tired that night and i don't really remember it. i really, really don't like the music of simon and garfunkle. it's the one thing i'd definitely change about the movie. but the actors in it, the filming, the transfer from book to screen -- all good. speaking of the book...

i read the book in the fall of 1994. i had graduated from college and -- having no job -- had moved back home to my parents' house in a small, rural, Texas town. i had no direction or purpose, and was sort of just existing, trying to figure out what i was going to do. i was working from time to time at my parents' antique store, and they had a bunch of books. bored, i went through them -- mostly romance novels and worthless crap -- and picked about three books of merit. of those, i read the graduate. it was odd, because i strongly identified with the character and his life situation at first, then suddenly he would do something crazy. then he'd be normalish again, and i'd once again find myself identifying with him. then he'd do something crazy again. considering i could identify with so much, it made me sort of paranoid about what might happen in my own life. but i never had an affair with an older married woman, nor fell in love with her daughter and stalked her to graduate school. (though considering how my life has gone, perhaps it'd been just as well if i had.)

anyway, back to the movie. from how i remember the book, the movie did a good job of staying with it. they had some really cool shots and filming techniques too. i can see why the movie has appeal. even if it has simon and garfunkle music. i really do wish the movie would have included what was one of my favorite parts of the book though, which is when benjamin (hoffman) -- during the middle of his directionless summer, concerned only with drinking beer and watching tv -- decides to go fight a huge forest fire with the indian firefighters. his return home and the conversation with his father is priceless.

ron paul

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i forgot to mention in my last entry that i got an email response from representative ron paul on may 23rd. i had gone to his website back around the 5th and sent him a message stating that even though he wasn't my representative i wanted to thank him for co-sponsoring the internet radio equality act. (at the time, he was the first and only Texas congressman doing so.) his response said:

Thank you also for your kind words regarding my cosponsorship of the Internet Radio Equality Act (HR 2060) that reverses the Copyright Royalty Board's recent misguided decision. Please be assured, I will continue to fight to protect internet radio from misguided federal policies.

i think i like him. especially since some folk in the goober republican party are flipping out about him suggesting the events of 9/11 might be tied on some level to our foreign policy in the middle east. as if that's an absurd or irrational view -- it's only been said by numerous people (and thought by numerous more). the republican party is becoming more and more like a drooling man-child with anger problems every year. it's sad, years ago they used to be a decent group. and since the democrats marginalized and ostracized the southern democrats and populists long ago (the part of the party i might have been able to identify with), it seems my only course is being an independent. (although the libertarians have been giving me the eye, i think.)

today i called my two senators to ask them to support/co-sponsor the internet radio equality bill (s. 1353). of course, i only spoke to the aides answering the phones. both calls were short and somewhat awkward; however, i should at least have been able to help add one more tick mark to the number of constituents asking them to co-sponsor the bill.

i also went ahead and called my representative's office again. i called a while back, but he still hasn't signed on as a co-sponsor of the house bill (h.r. 2060) so i wanted to see if he'd taken a position on the issue yet. he hasn't. the house bill has 92 co-sponsors as of earlier today -- hopefully it won't take too much more work to get it the rest of the way to force a vote.

go to savenetradio.org. call your senators and representative. help force the moronic crb and soundexchange to give small webcasters a chance to promote independent and niche artists. help preserve the diversity and choice that internet radio provides. the internet radio equality act still allows the artists to get paid more than what they get paid for being played on traditional radio...which is nothing. without getting into an argument of whether "promotional use" should pay fees or not (which is how traditional radio gets away with not paying these fees), the current legislation creates a better and more fair state for webcasters by putting them into the same fee structure as satellite radio. (and satellite evidently cut a deal where they're paying a flat fee instead of the percentage, according to a blog post by rusty from somafm.com.) but whatever. it's closer to fair than the shakedown the crb and soundexchange is trying to pull on them.

yesterday soundexchange (appears to have) attempted to cut their possible future loss of rate-setting control by offering an "olive branch" to small webcasters. the press release was rather short on specifics, rather long on defensiveness and posturing, and basically sounded like someone forced into a corner but not wanting to admit it. most likely it's an attempt to knock the legs out from under the savenetradio campaign, because it's a meager compromise (and pretty void of specifics) that gives some short term breathing room to some webcasters. those not knowledgeable about the situation, or just looking to get the whole mess over with, could -- from a quick glance -- misinterpret it as a good-faith response by soundexchange to reach a fair compromise. but it's pretty easy to see the whole press release comes across as authoritative, condescending, and like "we shouldn't have to play this way, but -- gosh darn it! -- we're just such a nice group of fellows to do something like this, even though most of those money-grubbing meanie webcasters are evil, evil, evil!" the truth is, in the long run it does not address in the least the issues that swung webcasters and internet radio listeners into action. webcasters are not being treated fairly compared to other digital transmission mediums. and certainly not compared to traditional terrestrial radio. continuing to offer the current rates for a couple more years and then jumping right back to the massive rate hikes is not a solution webcasters should embrace. and the simple fact is: why should webcasters lose steam to accept a vague and crappy "olive branch" that only helps some of them in the very short run, when they appear to be within reach of getting the rates set at truly fair and reasonable levels with the help of government intervention?

i was glad to see savenetradio.org pretty quickly (on the same day) sent back a big fat "fsck you" press release (see it on their site) in response to soundexchange's sham of a "compromise." as i said before, i'm really hoping soundexchange/riaa finally bit off more than they can chew. soundexchange/riaa have been masters of the two-faced, double-speak political game for a long time. it's amazing to read their recent press releases and see the absurd positions they attempt to justify by empty-yet-passionate quotes and careful manipulation of statistics and data. in fact, one of the biggest tactics is basing everything on how much money artists won't get if their new fee structures aren't followed. but the fees haven't even been in place. and are the fee structures fair in the first place? isn't that what the disagreement is about? "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! we are the great and powerful...uh...soundexchange! the crb has...uh...spoken..." they also try to paint everyone else as money-grubbing corporate monsters. funny, considering the pristine corporate citizens they were spawned from. after their self-congratulatory, gloating commentary after the crb upheld its new fee structures by denying the motions from webcasters, it'd be nice to see the long arm of the legal system shoved up their fees all the way to their smiling press releases.

went to austin for baseball, but...

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let's finish catching up...

thursday around lunch i visited julia in the hospital. she's a co-worker who had gotten surgery done to her lower spine wednesday morning. she was on a lot of morphine, but i was surprised she was as coherent and as mobile as she was. it's pretty amazing the major things doctors can do these days and even consider letting you go home in a day or two. (although i'm sure the morphine helps.) i also went by to visit her again after work. she was in some pain and not too excited about them trying to get her out of the hospital. (they ended up sending her home friday by noon or so.) hopefully her recovery process is going okay. (although it'll be some weeks of recovery.) after visiting her, i drove over to the original berry hill (near westheimer and kirby) and ate with chris and mary.

friday i left work early (though not as early as i'd planned, so i hit rush hour traffic...geh) and headed to college station to meet my brother and watch the a&m/u.t. baseball game. it was a good game, although a&m melted at the end and commited some errors and gave the game to u.t. up until then, it was a pretty close game and could have gone either way. while i was at the game, jack called me to see what i was up to, and then kelli called to see if i was at the west alabama ice house. hopefully next time they'll call me while i'm still in town. kelli told me brad was actually in college station, but the game went until 9:45pm or so and we immediately left to drive back to austin so i didn't give him a call.

yup, i spent the weekend in austin. the plan was to meet at a&m and watch the game there, then drive to austin and watch the second two games of the series (saturday and sunday). saturday we got up and ate a late breakfast at the waterloo icehouse. afterward, we walked over to the (conveniently next door) waterloo records and i bought some cds:

  • * Texas thunderbolt - lightnin' hopkins (proper box set)
  • * oh, no! it's devo - devo (collectables re-release)
  • * queen of rockabilly - wanda jackson (ace)

i've been planning to buy some hopkins stuff for awhile, i'm just never sure what to get. the proper boxes are usually pretty good, so i figured a 4 cd box set from them would be a good choice. the devo album was one of the only ones (i want) that i didn't have on cd. some of their other albums that aren't on cd domestically through warner brothers have been re-issued by the same company, but i picked up most of them when they were expensive import-only cds. (i've got japanese import cds of duty now for the future and new traditionalists.) and i've eyed the wanda jackson album a couple of times in various stores, so i finally gave in and picked it up.

we went back to linc's place and hung out for awhile. chris called to see if i wanted to meet them at west alabama ice house, then evelyn (her name in second life) called and we talked for awhile. heather came over and we all walked to the ballpark to watch the second a&m/t.u. game...but it was sold out. we talked to a scalper or two, but they were pretty proud of their tickets. we went back to linc's and jumped online to see if we could buy tickets for sunday's game. no luck. so instead of the game, we went to dinner. we ate at phil's (a burger place), which is connected to an amy's ice cream (and i guess is probably affiliated with it somehow). the burger was pretty good. from there we went back to my brother's. we decided to walk back down to the stadium and see if they were letting people in for free. it was the 7th inning, they were letting people in, and it was a tied game. once again, it was a good game. and once again, a&m committed an error near the end of the game that gave u.t. the lead. this win gave u.t. the series, and also made them the big 12 champions. we walked back to linc's place, where he and i decided to smoke our pipes and listen to music. (heather parted ways for some kind of social event.)

saturday was also the day we came to know the a/c guys. they get a paragraph of their own. linc had gotten a letter from his new apartment complex owner (who is a person who flips properties, and appears to be planning to flip the small complex my brother lives in) that they were going to be removing and cleaning the a/c coils in the apartments over the weekend. the first guy we met was more of a stereotype of a functional poor white drunk than a real person. in every way, in every comment, he solidified this. the guy helping him, who we met later, was a really interesting old black man who mentioned he plays harmonica. (we were listening to a lot of old blues, country, and jazz.) he said he'd been in a military band, and had played all over the world -- and even on the ed sullivan show. in sharp contrast to his co-worker, he didn't drink at all. together they formed a very slow moving, yet fascinating and humorous, train wreck. they spent a couple of hours in and out of linc's apartment. at least they seemed to be getting the work done, even if in very slow and widely spaced fits and starts. i believe the old black guy was slow and meticulous, in comparison to the white guy who was just slow. like characters from an old coen brothers film, they were.

sunday we got up and met heather at waterloo icehouse for breakfast. (yep, we went back to the same place.) our waitress seemed pretty cool, and we discussed cream of wheat vs. malt-o-meal, chocolate malt-o-meal, the unknown-by-us origins of malt-o-meal, then we transitioned into malt. i'm not sure we figured anything out, but it was an entertaining set of conversations. we went back into waterloo records after breakfast, but i didn't buy anything.

we didn't even try to figure out a way to watch the baseball game. in the afternoon, we decided to watch the wendell baker story. it was done by luke and andrew wilson, and had a whole bunch of people in it. it also had a really good soundtrack, and was filmed in and around austin. unfortunately, overall the movie really wasn't that good. but it was entertaining in parts, and had some really funny lines. perhaps if i watch it again, i'll find a deeper appreciation for it as a whole. the first time i watched bottle rocket i didn't fall in love with it either.

after the movie, linc and i headed to a half price books and i bought some cds and books:

  • * a proper introduction to john lee hooker - john lee hooker (proper)
  • * ghost train - the hot club of cowtown (hightone)
  • * a proper introduction to hank thompson - hank thompson (proper)

john lee hooker is probably the second blues guy i think of when i think of blues. (or blues i like, i should say.) the first being lightnin' hopkins, of course. so i decided this would probably be a good thing to pick up. i've got one or two hot club of cowtown cds, but didn't have this one. and i've been meaning to pick up som hank thompson, so it seemed like a good start.

  • * storm over Texas: the annexation controversy and the road to civil war - joel h. silbey (oxford)
  • * stephen f. austin: empresario of Texas - cantrell (yale)

i also saw a couple of old books about the history of german settlers in Texas, but at $50 and $100 i decided to pass since i didn't know what their value might be or what direct interest i might have.

after heading back to linc's -- and seeing the a/c guys hard(ly) at it yet again -- i packed up my stuff and headed back to houston.

i really like austin. for numerous reasons. it's eclectic, it's unique, it's got trees and hills and nature pretty readily available. it gives it an interesting vibe, with quirky and unique stores and places to go. and i must admit, the number of cool-looking girls (alt, punk, granola, emo, nerd culture, goth, etc.) around town is nice. not that such things matter much, but it's yet another reason for me to prefer austin to houston. i know the quirky nature lends itself to negatives as well, and i'm sure the ongoing oddness could begin to get tedious at times -- but if handled properly it adds nice spice. and being only two hours from my family's land would be a pretty nifty bonus. maybe one of these days i'll make it there.

okay, so back to the past weekend...

friday i left work around 5pm and headed to the west alabama ice house to hang out with a couple of co-workers and some of their friends. around 6:30pm i headed into work for some maintenance fun. things went good, bad, good, bad, good -- so i didn't leave until around 2am. i had joked i was going to go to the ice house and have some drinks, then go back to work...relaxed. but i actually didn't have anything to drink. not even a saint arnold's root beer. (saint arnold's was there giving away glasses if you bought one of their drinks. i was excited until i saw all they had was their summer pilsner glass.)

saturday i woke up around noon, then rode my motorcycle down to allen parkway for the art car parade. i'd actually never been to it before, even though i'm familiar with it and have numerous friends that go. it was pretty cool to see some of the mods people had done to cars. a couple of really nice restored cars made me want to get an old car though. especially nice were a black 60's impala and a black ford galaxie. from there i headed to chris and mary's for a cookout. i was thirsty, so when i stopped by the store to get some hot links i also picked up a gallon of arizona green tea. after asking if anyone else wanted any of the tea and getting negative responses, i drank from the jug. after a few hours we walked to the metro rail and rode it downtown, where we went to the astros-diamondbacks game. it wasn't a particularly exciting game, but it was a good game because the astros won pretty handily. from there we headed back to chris and mary's (on the way back we saw a lone pickup fly off a downtown street and into a tree, deploying both airbags in the incident) where we hung out and talked. i continued drinking the arizona green tea. i ended up leaving around 1:30am. all told, i was outside from around 12:30pm until around 2am -- that's pretty rare for me. i could tell i was outside in the warmth because i drank a whole gallon of green tea and never had to use the restroom. finally, the quart or two of water after the tea did it.

sunday i got up and went to kaleo. after kaleo i headed to pei wei with the potts and the hartleys. while there, i asked sue if she was interested in going to the range for mother's day. she was, so we went and put about 300 rounds through my .40. i took my .380 kel-tec, but it jammed a couple of times. i'm not sure why it did that...i'm planning on field stripping it to see if i can tell what the problem is. sue did pretty good for having little experience with firing a pistol, and she seemed to enjoy it. i took her back to their house and hung out there a few hours, playing with the kids, talking with jack and sue, and watching some tv.

monday after work i met up with chris for supper at empire cafe. even though i'm somewhat chagrined they converted from a coffee house to a restaurant, i must admit their food is really good. and if you want to go somewhere to look upon the cool beautiful people (or to be seen yourself), it's a good spot. i'm not so much about that, but their food is really good nevertheless.

monday i also realized that on thursday i had put some mail on the couch and had never gotten back to it. i went through it and guess what i found? that's right! my chl license! it only took about 1 month from the time i submitted it until the time i got it -- that's much better than the 2 to 2.5 months that had been predicted. my picture is happily disturbing. as a bonus, my eyes appear to have this weird dark blue glow to them, so it looks like i'm on the spice (from dune). so now i'm a card carrying gun culture member. (i'm also a member of southern hunting culture as well, but they aren't the same thing.)

wednesday i left work early and headed to the dentist. i'm tired of going to the dentist. fortunately, the new crown is pretty decent. it's fatter (in depth) than my original tooth, but i guess that can't be helped much. it also doesn't quite match my original bite, which is sometimes annoying. anyway, i'm hoping this will be the end of me dealing with the crown. the fact that the other two teeth they did some work on weeks ago now hurt a bit when i chew on hard foods...well, that's something to deal with another day.

license to carry

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i have plenty to write about from the last few days, but i'm tired right now. however, i wanted to mention i just went to the Texas dps website to check the status on my concealed handgun license application and saw this:

"Application Completed - license issued or certificate active"

yup, it looks like i'm gonna be able to legally pack.

crash! 0H N03Z!

on monday morning i checked my email then left for work. a couple of hours later, i went to log in to check my mail via ssh...connection refused. eh? tried again, same thing. i tried going to my website. could not connect to server. uh oh. logged into the admin site and made a serial console connection to my server...it was spewing mysql write errors. uh oh! i went back to the 1and1 admin site and told it to reboot my server. i watched it through the serial console, and when it got to the hard drive it barfed and said it couldn't mount the hard drive due to disk errors. run e2fsck. UH OH. i went back into the admin console and told it to reboot into recovery mode, then used the serial console to log in and ran e2fsck on the partition with my linux installation (i.e., the os, data, etc...basically everything). it started complaining about missing inodes, moving stuff into lost+found, sizes not matching... UH OH! i went through the e2fsck hitting "y" every time and cringing a little bit. fortunately, it made it through without going crazy and losing an insane number of inodes and paths. i got to the end and mounted the partition. it mounted. i did an "ls" and i could see the directories. at this point i was pretty sure my hard drive had just vomited and was in the process of failing, but i wanted to take this opportunity to copy everything i could think of i needed before calling support. i quickly started going through the system and copying everything important i could think of to another server (web directories, web config files, mail directories, home directories, mysql data files, plesk files, some files in /etc, and so on). i managed to get everything without seeing errors. yea!

you see, i'm one of those i.t. professionals who takes care to behave like a professional at work, but in my personal computer life i live life on the edge -- i don't do backups. so i had the possibility of losing all of my blog stuff (like i did in the great disk crash of sept 2004), personal files, genealogical data i'd entered into a database, etc. even after i managed to copy all of the files i did, it was possible i might still lose a lot of blog data because i hadn't made any real backups of the data -- all i had was an old backup i'd done in mid to late 2006, and the static pages. i could recreate with that, but i'd lose database comment info, entries that were saved but unpublished, etc. but i had a copy of data files themselves, and as long as the database was in a stable state when the system was rebooted then the data files might not be corrupted.

after pulling all the files i could think of, i actually went ahead and rebooted the server into normal mode, just to see if the fsck might have fixed things. i watched it boot through the serial console, but as it was booting the startup scripts started complaining about not finding "ls" and other basic commands. it looked like some important inodes got borked. it got to the login prompt and i was able to log in, but i couldn't do most commands other than those built into the shell itself (like "echo"). i also started seeing some data seek and read/write errors. something was definitely fubar.

i called support and talked to a guy and explained what had happened and what i'd done, concluding with the statement that my hard drive appeared to be failing. he responded with "do you have any proof for believing that?" i told him i could send him an email with some of the fsck inode issues and other stuff, and he said okay. i emailed it to him. i also discussed whether they could save the hard drive so i could try to get data off of it if i wanted. he actually said they could do that. (back in 2004, they weren't too interested in helping me with that failing hard drive...they just put in a new one and told me "tough luck".) he said it'd be awhile before the techs could look at it, so i left for supper with jack (who'd come over to eat supper with me).

when i got back, the support guy had sent an email. he said he had forwarded my email to the techs and they saw no reason to believe it was a hard drive problem, so i should run badblocks or re-image the server. i immediately got annoyed, because there was no way i was going to rebuild on a hard drive that definitely appeared to be failing. but then i saw he'd sent another email about 30 minutes later, and it said to ignore the first one and they'd be replacing my hard drive. awesome!

i decided at this point to make a shift: i don't really use armyoftexas.com, diablostejanos.com, and republicoftexas.org much; they don't have much of anything in the way of web files or email accounts; and pretty much no special stuff (other than the blog i'd installed on diablostejanos.com) -- so i decided to move them all to google apps. that's right: those three domains are now being run off of google apps. that may change at some point, but i figured now was as good a time as any to make the shift and see how google apps is. i'll write more about that sometime.

i didn't see an email before i went to bed, so i figured i'd just work on the server tuesday. tuesday morning i got up and still didn't see an email. but when i got into work, i found out they'd emailed my work email around 1am to say they had re-imaged my system per my request. uh...what? "re-imaged?" i logged in through the serial console and the system was spewing hard drive errors. further, there were different partitions (and in what appeared to be a weird partitioning pattern) on the system. so it appeared they wiped my data and re-imaged my original drive, and not installed a new one. *sigh*

i called support and explained my situation and talked to a new guy. i guess he decided it was beyond him, because within a few minutes he said he was going to transfer me to the server support group. (yea! someone that can better understand the situation!) a guy answered and i talked to him. he said the ticket said they'd pulled the hard drive and replaced it, but he logged in and saw the disk errors. he said it seemed surprising it'd be another bad drive, but he'd look into it. i asked him about slaving my old drive, but he said the servers only have space for one drive. but they could either trade out drives, or give me access to a test server with the old drive for a day or two for me to try and pull data. i thanked him and started the wait. he said it'd probably be 1 to 4 hours.

about 5 hours later, i got an email that my server was being re-imaged per my request. at this point i didn't care what the email said, as long as i didn't get on and see drive errors. i logged in and everything looked stable. and so i started the process of reconfiguring and restoring web, mail, etc. i spent tuesday evening and into early wednesday morning getting bohemianphotography.com, leifeste.net, and failure.net (including this blog) back up and functioning (minus database stuff).

tonight i finally started playing with the database files, and i'm happy to report none of the database files were corrupted and (as far as i am aware) all of my stuff is back up and functional.

so that's what it's like living life on the i.t. edge. rock and roll.

coffee, bubble tea, music, coffee, bleh

wednesday after the radio show i went with jay lee and groovehouse over to inversion coffee house. it's the first time i'd been there sans jack. it was jay and groovehouse's first experience with the place. it seemed to pass their rigid battery of coffee house tests.

okay, not really. i mean, i don't mean it didn't really pass. i mean they don't have a rigid battery of coffee house tests. i don't even think they have any tests. by that, i don't mean that they don't have any standards at all. i'm sure they have some standards. but not...oh, nevermind. they seemed to think the place was okay.

friday was the geek gathering. turnout was okay, with a cast of usuals. afterward i went over to the continental club with jay to check out a set by the octanes. they were opening for candye kane. before the show we dropped by sig's lagoon, and i came across several cds that are kind of hard to find. i then went over and watched the octanes set. it was good, but not as good as their set i saw a few weeks ago. i bought their cd. so here's what i got friday night:

  • * lucky seven - the octanes (self-released/g.t.h.i.)
  • * shadows where the magic was - james hand (self-released/honkytonktexas)
  • * thunderstorms and neon signs - wayne hancock (ark21)
  • * blessed or damned - dale watson (hightone)
  • * cheatin' heart attack - dale watson (hightone)

i headed home, then jack called around 11:30pm. he picked me up and we over to inversion, but we barely made it because they close at midnight on all nights except sunday (which is earlier). i figured they'd stay open later on friday and saturday night since they are open until midnight on weeknights. oh well. we got some drinks and headed back to my house. we sat and talked for a couple of hours.

this morning i woke up and felt like i'd gone on a bender last night. geh. either i've got an ongoing low-grade sinus infection or my allergies are freaking out on me. i guess either (or both) is possible.

a bill has been introduced in the house of representatives to correct the stupidity being perpetuated on internet/digital radio by the copyright royalty board (stupidity being lovingly fawned over as fair and good by soundexchange, a body spun off as a non-profit from the riaa). it was sponsored by representative inslee (d-wa). (thank you!) there are currently 42 co-sponsors (as of right now). thank G-d at least one Texas representative has had enough sense to join up...way to go, ron paul! (r-Tx) please go to savenetradio.org and use their easy setup to call and/or write your congressional representative and ask them to support or co-sponsor this bill.

if you like current internet radio at all, if you enjoy listening to some small stations that play artists you don't hear on big corporate radio, if you want to keep small independent internet radio around as a choice -- you need to take some action. the new pricing structure will immediately kill almost all small webcasters because the new fees are retroactive to jan 2006. as soon as they take effect, most small webcasters will have to shut down due to the debt they suddenly acquired. a debt that isn't fair, but is currently "legal". (from my divorce, i'm more than familiar with such a scenario.) i myself called my representative's office (culberson) a couple of days ago.

here's a couple of good articles about the reality of recent public claims soundexchange has made, where they've been trying to spin and justify the royalty board's fee restructuring:
"soundexchange: show us your work" -- fred wilhelms (may 1 2007)
"soundexchange: let's see the math" (part ii) -- fred wilhelms (may 3 2007)

i found the first article from rusty hodge's blog (he's the general manager behind somafm.) go to rusty's blog for some other good info and links about what's going on. he's been pretty actively involved talking to congressional people and staff in d.c.

the riaa has been able to get away with some screwed up stuff over the years -- mostly because the general populace was ignorant of the issues and what was being done but could at least see how them going after "music pirates" could be okay (assuming you buy into that perspective). their sly legal manipulations regarding laws surrounding digital recording/copying/performance has been pretty nefarious, but this time the riaa/soundexchange is trying to screw businesses and individuals that: are not easily painted as shady or pirates by the riaa/soundexchange; are providing a valuable service to a lot of people; and are generally well-liked by the general populace. never mind they actually promote and generate interest and sales for the artists they play.

funny how organizations supposedly there to help the recording industry and artists are hurting their own smaller constituents. could it be they don't care at all about the small artists and labels, and are just interested in their own money and power?! why are they doing this?

my opinion (beyond the possibility that they're just extremely ignorant, which i highly doubt) is that it's because the riaa/soundexchange wants to control the new medium that is internet radio, and it has developed somewhat outside the control of the traditional music/radio business powerholders. let's face it, the big record companies evidently already lost to traditional broadcasters long ago -- over-the-air stations don't have to pay any copyright/performance fees, only "musical work" fees. this is the big labels' chance to get their teeth into a young broadcast medium. i mean, really, the money they siphon from the internet broadcasters they are trying to force out of business is just a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. once they've driven all of the pioneers and early adopters out by feeing them to death, then they can revamp the whole system and put a new one into place that lets them maintain control over the music industry and provides more income to them. and if they destroy some smaller artists and labels in the process...oh well. it'd take too much work to allow for them. and what if they got popular and the current power labels started to lose out?

that's my opinion anyway. but it fits what i see.

dental hijinx

well, i forgot to mention the dentist called friday and set up an appointment for me on monday afternoon. i got there and they said they wanted to try some kind of tooth sandblasting thing to get the green off the tooth. i was under the impression the green was on the inside and had possibly permeated it as well, but i agreed. they tried it, and it helped -- but it was still green. they told me i could decide. i said i really wasn't too excited about getting the crown cut off and everything, but it was definitely still green so i guess i should. she offered to numb me up good. thank goodness she did, because i'm sure it made the whole overall process much more bearable. i'm not sure if they had no new crown for me and called me in anyway, or if they forgot about it, but they took new impressions and gave me a temp. so now i've got to wear this new temp for a couple of weeks until my newer new crown comes in. sigh. i'll just be glad when this is done and i can quit dealing with dentists for awhile.

after the dentist i met up with tyler (from kaleo) at a starbucks. we talked there for awhile, then headed to academy. it was raining on the way over there, so that reminded me i needed to buy a new umbrella. i'd had my last one since 1998 i think. i bought it at a wal-mart in macomb (in illinois) while i was up there for cornerstone. i'm assuming it was 1998 because tamara was at the wal-mart with me. it was a good umbrella. unfortunately, the last rain spell i was twirling it around too much and i snapped some of the spine joints. sometimes you just can't help but go dancing and singing in the rain, you know what i mean? okay, i wasn't really doing that. i was just twirling it around for no good reason.

i also ordered a new tv stand from boltz. they were having a bit of a sale, so i went ahead and bit on one. hopefully it'll be cool and a good size, and i'll never have to buy a tv stand ever again. it's a customized version of the tvxl -- two 10 inch shelves, with casters. at some point i'll have to get a new tv to fill it out. my current tv is vintage 1998, but it's a 36 inch tube so it's a decent size. the picture sharpness isn't nearly as nice as the newer tvs though. i'd be more intent on a new tv if i watched tv more. but i do watch movies, and those are nice to see in widescreen with a good picture.

i was planning on purchasing an israeli galil and a 9mm mac 10 today, but the company was currently out of stock of both. oh well. my stockpiling of various assault weapons will have to commence at a later date. i've also started considering looking into what it takes to get a class a firearms license (meaning i could own fully auto weapons), and how (if) it would affect my use of normal firearms.

today i didn't really have plans, but i ended up going to the houston cold fusion users' group meeting to hear ben forta speak about the new version of cold fusion coming out sometime this year. i don't do much cf coding these days, but i still help admin/run/install cf servers. it was an interesting presentation of some of the features of cf 8. i ran into alan (a co-worker from my jsc/nasa days with dyncorp) whom i hadn't seen in probably 5 years, as well as alma and sherrie (both former employees at my current company) whom i hadn't seen in probably 3 or so years. sherrie asked how the pigs were, so i had to give a very short statement about tamara and my divorce.

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