June 24, 2003

Something amusing happened at work

Something amusing happened at work two days ago. I was sitting in the electrical shop, minding my own business, being productive, when all of a sudden I got a lecture on the evils of popular music in general and Country/Western music specifically. The funny thing was, it wasn't even my own music. But a little background is obviously needed.

I don't have the most exciting job in the world; that's quite all right with me. I'm perfectly happy if I have something to keep my hands busy for 8 hours and nothing more. On this particular day, I was enjoying myself taking little bits of wire off the back of relay sockets. Extremely mindless. The enjoyment factor was increased by the fact that I got to play with a soldering iron in the process. The guy next to me was in and out, hunting up parts for the stoplight cabinet he was putting together. At the time this story occurs, he was out. He happened to have his radio tuned to one of the many local country music stations. This is not unusual. It's probably the most commonly heard radio station in the entire building.

Enter Lyle, #2 guy in the business. He's something I'm quite familiar with, a fundamentalist Christian. I tend to be one myself, upon occasion. Anyway, he happened to hear the radio, and assumed it was mine. I don't know why; the guy whose radio it was has been working here far longer than I have, and I'm sure his musical preferences are quite well known. I'm not sure which song it was. "She Don't Know She's Beautiful", I think.

So Lyle sits down, gives me a few anecdotes on his past life working at a radio station, and then proceeds to run through the usual line about modern popular music all being rubbish. How it's not realistic, and it brainwashes one, and all that. For his crowning example, he used the song that was playing then. "I heard the line 'She don't know she's beautiful'. They never make songs about 'She don't know she's smart', or 'She don't know she's strong', you know." I nodded and smiled. I really didn't have the heart to tell him it wasn't my music, and so take away his joy at helping to guide me along the straight and narrow. I seem to have this knack of convincing people that I understand exactly what they're talking about. It worked quite well in this case.

And to be fair, I do know what he's talking about, or at least why he said it. I'm just not sure it's valid. It's the age-old argument over whether anything which has a little bit of untruth in it is able to have any redeeming value whatsoever. However, he picked a rather poor example to verify his argument with. It smacks very much of political correctness. You know, the whole bit about making sure everyone knows they're special. All very well and good in itself, but it tends to turn love songs into something farcical. Not that they don't tend to be already, but that's just the nature of the genre. Making them politically correct on top of everything else is just laughable.

And then there's the whole bit about somebody, who I really don't know all that well, taking it into his head to keep me walking the Good Christian Walk. It might have been slightly different had he actually been a good friend of mine. Then I would have paid attention and taken the trouble to argue with him. In this case, I just didn't think it was worth it. However, if the subject comes up again, I'm going to throw a lot of ice water on his happy little ministry of helping out little girls who can't think for themselves.

Posted by Ardith at 09:26 PM

June 21, 2003

Every sysadmin should read BOFH.

Every sysadmin should read BOFH. The world would be a much better place.

Archives here, for those who need to do a little catching up.

Posted by Ardith at 02:50 PM

June 19, 2003

I'd just like to take

I'd just like to take this time to point out that I had nothing whatsoever to do with Anna's most recent prank on Scholl. I was not in the area at the time of the mailing, I did not examine the powerpoint before it was sent, and I in no way influenced the sender. Neither did I have anything to do with the pictures; it was not my malevolent roaming spirit which caused those pictures to be taken, nor did I have any operational mind-control satellites in orbit. I have not touched the infamous Judge since the last time Scholl hit me on the head with it. All pranksters incur wrath on their own heads, and there is no precedent for visiting the sins of the prankster on the heads of her friends.

Having said that, it sure was a funny powerpoint. Good job, Anna.

And now it's time for your regular Broadband For Ardith update. For a couple of weeks now, I have been hanging on tenterhooks while things move slowly towards us having something like a decent internet connection. Just about all that's available here in the middle of nowhere is something the incredibly intelligent people at our ISP call 'wireless'. It seems to have some sort of line-of-sight requirement concerning the tower they put up in a farm near the closest town. They put a receiver on your roof, and then shunt the connection down to your computer via USB. Not the most elegant solution, but it's supposed to work. I've never actually talked to CNS about this, so it's all word of mouth from my dad. But given that they decided limiting people's bandwidth was going to be too 'time-consuming', I'm willing to bet that they don't know all that much about it either.

It seems the guys from the ISP did actually come out to our place. However, they check line-of-sight by (1) Using their handy-dandy little GPS locator to determine our exact position and (2) Sending the coordinates on to somebody else who will supposedly get back with them in a day or two and tell them whether there are any hills in the way. Or something like that. Once again, I am amazed by their incredible sense of efficiency. I assume all this outsourcing is good for the economy, because otherwise there is no reason for this behaviour at all.

It's now been a week since this happened, and we're still waiting to see whether or not we among the Blessed. The Blessed being those who, unfettered by hills and other annoying topographical landmarks, have access to 2 T1 lines' worth of unpartitioned bandwidth. It's all very annoying, to be sure.

As it is now 11:00pm, I must be off to bed. My your sleep be comfortable, unless you work for CNS Internet, in which case the Curse of a Disgruntled Geek applies:

May your Internet connection always be slow and choppy, and may your dropped packets be plentiful. May your firewall have many gaping holes, and may those holes be found by enterprising young script-kiddies and black-hats alike. May your Windows boxes all show the BSOD, and the kernels of any Linux boxes immediately dump core. May your CPU fan(s) die, your harddrive heads crash, and your power supplies explode. May lightning strike your house and kill your UPS, modem, and anything else withing range. May God have mercy on your soul.

Posted by Ardith at 11:11 PM

June 16, 2003

I discovered something interesting today.

I discovered something interesting today. Feeling rather self-important, I decided to search for me online. It seems I am more unique than I thought I was.

Searched for "Ardith Hoyt" in major search engines:
Google - Ah, yes. The stats from my favorite private-newsgroup-that-went-under-due-to-an-idiot-sponsor.
MSN - I'd forgotten that I made a few comments on articles in Linux Today articles.
Lycos - Multiple repeats. I'm not sure why Shem's site has so many listings...
Yahoo - Oh, good, this one brought in Martens' blacklist.
AltaVista - No, AltaVista, I most certainly did *not* want to search for "Adit Hoyt". Stupid search engine.

Every one of those links refers to me. Every last one.

Meta-crawlers tend to include a few extra links which have nothing to do with me. View these with caution and suspicion. Obviously they are not True Search Engines, since they return results Fraught With Error.

This is getting boring now. Must get to bed anyway. It's another big day of soldering in the morning, and as my aunt and uncle are here with Yet Another Toddler in tow, it's not going to be too quiet around here in the evening. *sigh*

And my life continues it's meandering way towards certain insanity...

Posted by Ardith at 11:05 PM

June 14, 2003

As the level of comments

As the level of comments has proceeded to new lows, it's about time for me to update this before we get into a deep discussion concerning the male/female ratio in the Netherlands.

It's finally the weekend, so I'll give you a bit about my first week on the job. I work here. No, I'm not the webmaster. In fact, I haven't even touched the computers - yet. Instead, I've spent my time cutting, terminating, and soldering countless wires. I've done about 6 54-pin connectors' worth, and I have at least 10 more to go on this order. And then I get to build the rest of the panels for which I am making these connectors. It's all fairly mindless work, which is quite alright as far as I'm concerned. I have to think enough during the school year. Of course, as luck would have it, I'm the shortest person in the entire company. Which makes my life exciting, to be sure. On the bright side, my first week's pay should allow me to pay back my dad what I owe him for all my new computer parts.

I've been doing some research today on whether driving barefoot is illegal. My mom was under the impression that it was, so I had to go find some proof. Here is the Urban Legends site for the curious. There's nothing more fun than driving a stick-shift barefoot...

Posted by Ardith at 05:29 PM

June 11, 2003

Personally, I think there's something

Personally, I think there's something quite depressing about going to bed before 11:00. I don't know how people do it on a regular basis. I'm also trying to remember why I was *glad* to be working 8 hours a day. Well, money makes up for a lot. And it's not a bad job at all. It is a job, however, which means I have to be semi-productive. And that does not come easily.

I had further proof yesterday that I will really never understand why some girls date. The way they jump from one guy to another makes you wonder if they are really capapble of coming to any permanent decisions at all. I'd be frustrated with them, but it's not really worth my time.

And since three random thoughts make a coherent post, I'm going to spend my last half-hour before I go to sleep reading. So I can get up at 6:30am tomorrow, go to work, and get back at 6:00pm, and then proceed to do very little for 5 hours which end up seeming way too short. I can't wait until school starts again.

Posted by Ardith at 10:34 PM

June 06, 2003

And after all that, it

And after all that, it promptly froze, just as I was publishing this stupid thing.

Fine. So be it. Windows 98 is no longer stable enough for web browsing.

And now off to what I was actually planning to write tonight...

Just a little peek into what our lives are like around here. Today was my parents' anniversary, so they spent the evening out on the town. This, of course, left me as oldest and thus in charge. Not a big deal, I've done it a zillion times before. But each time something new comes up, and tonight was no different. The youngest, Trevor, is not quite weaned yet, and this was the first time he'd been away from his mother for more than a few hours. I'm getting ahead of myself, though.

I was spending some time on my computer. I was actually being semi-productive, trying to get the Windows 98 third of my triple-boot setup to be something close to stable. Needing a break from such mindless and inane activity, I spent a couple of hours doing something even more mindless and inane: watching Mulan. Whenever both parents are gone for an extended period of time, the kids get to watch a movie. It keeps them busy, out of trouble, and whiles away a few hours.

After this was done, I proceeded to busy myself popping frozen pizzas in the oven, and setting the table with as few dishes that need to be washed as possible. This keeps the number of complaints concerning "Slave-driver Ardith" to a minimum. Then Nolan decided to do something characteristic, but not usually directed towards myself.

I'm not sure what brought the temper tantrum on; I think I told him he couldn't take something outside that he particularly wanted to take. At any rate, I dared to keep him from getting out the door with it, and he calmly contradicted me, and tried for the door again. When I stepped in front of it, he stood there and screamed at me. He has a very loud voice for one so young. As screaming at one's authorities is not allowed around here, I was forced to march him into an adjoining room with the paddle.

I'm always interested by how some kids scream only before they are spanked. Not during, or after, but before. I tapped him once or twice on his rear end, and he decided it would be the better part of valour to cooperate. It was the first time I'd actually taken the paddle to any of the kids. I've smacked them with my hand before, but nothing came up that was this serious. Nolan is definitely in a class apart, however. 15 minutes later, he was happily watching me take pizzas out of the oven. I don't think I'll ever understand him.

Anyhoo, nothing exciting happened for another few hours. Apparently I have now reached the point where I am deemed a fair divider of pizza. A milestone indeed. I managed to get just about all the programs and games I wanted reinstalled under 98. Of course, I had to test the DVD player along the way by playing the first ten minutes of the Fellowship of the Ring. Eventually, however, it sunk into my head that the baby had been crying downstairs for at least ten minutes. Coming down to investigate, I discovered Sharon kneeling in front of a chair, trying to convince him to come out from under it and stop crying. It was almost bedtime, and he'd realized he hadn't seem Mommy for quite some time.

Unfortunately for all concerned, 15-month old babies who can't talk yet do not react well to diplomacy. So, I took him upstairs, laid him on the double bed in my room, and waited for him to get tired of thrashing around. 20 minutes later, he was worn out enough to let me walk him around.

15-month old babies are also remarkably heavy. Heavy enough to wear one out after a further 20 minutes of walking around, playing peek-a-boo with the curtain, and sitting down for five seconds at a time until the kid decides he's bored again. But at least he was no longer crying constantly. I could have sworn he was about to drop off to sleep on six separate occaisions. Nope, he's just playing with my mind. Our parents got back at about 10pm, and I sat down to read and watch TV for the next couple of hours. Another successful baby-sitting job accomplished. Now if only I could convince my parents that this service is valuable enough to warrant some sort of material compensation.

Posted by Ardith at 01:25 AM

*sigh* The single most annoying

*sigh* The single most annoying thing about Windows 98 is the fact that you have to reinstall it, from scratch, having first completely removed the windows directory, at least once a year. That's about how long it takes for the decay process to set in. After that, it is possible to see a digression from fairly decent working order to involuntary, alternating spasms of freezing and rebooting. This digression takes about one week to complete; after the earth has turned these seven times, it is no longer possible to do anything productive with that particular install of Windows 98. I'm sure there is regulatory code somewhere deep inside the bowels of the thing. Perhaps it is close to the area in which the various unused device drivers are converted to Things Which Cause Hardware Incompatibilities in the Middle of the Night.

Posted by Ardith at 12:42 AM

June 05, 2003

It seems I will have

It seems I will have to join those forced to be productive this summer, after all. I'll know for certain on Monday, but I could very well be soldering all next week. And the week after that. And the week after that. I'm honestly excited. This could be the first enjoyable job I've had to date. Sure, I'll have to commute nearly an hour, but I can live with that.

I was talking to my sister about it, and I realized something. As bad as this may sound, the best things happen when I sit back and wait for them. In some sort of twisted way, I get more done when I'm lazy. This is a very interesting phenomenon; it definitely requires further investigation.

Posted by Ardith at 12:25 AM

June 03, 2003

And here's your local Stargate

And here's your local Stargate Junkie/Paranoid Schizophrenic to say goodnight to you. Be nice to him, I had an awful time getting him to come out of his cave.

"Goodnight, and don't worry about the bedbugs; they aren't really bedbugs, you know. They're the nanites being introduced to the population by the Goa'uld as part of their new genetics experiment. They did take over the planet you know - only it happened a lot more quietly than anyone expected..."

Drat, he scuttled off. Oh, well, I'll catch up with him later.

Posted by Ardith at 10:23 PM

I have been informed that

I have been informed that the braggart otherwise known as the Vengeful Cynic has been making threats to my roommie. Apparently, it makes him feel better since I'm not there and thus can't be threatened to my face. Any readers still at LU are strongly encouraged to do nasty things to him for me. Otherwise, I'll have to catch up on it all when I get back. And that won't necessarily be pretty.

Posted by Ardith at 10:09 PM