December 30, 2003

In Which Ardith Explores a Webserver

I am a total geek. There is no hope.

Today, I slept in about an hour longer than usual. This is because I stayed up until 1:45 downloading a SSH telnet client the night before.

Of course, then I had to try it out, so I spent another 15 minutes perusing log files on this web server I have access to.

This morning, I rolled out of bed, took a shower, got online, and looked around aforementioned server some more. It's been having troubles lately, so I wanted to find out what was wrong. I fixed a couple of minor things, couldn't get another problem to show up, and read all my daily webcomics.

Later on, I made a joke which involved electrical tape. On an online forum, of course.

It's probably a good thing I'm going to pick Heather up at the airport

Posted by Ardith at 12:16 AM

December 29, 2003

In Which Ardith Watches a New TV Show

Having seen Walker Texas Ranger for the first time ever tonight, I'm now going to give you my reactions:

A. If I could kick like that, I'd be in LA doing some corny kung fu show for the WB.

B. Everyone wears a cowboy hat in Texas. Especially people who drive 18-wheelers and rustle cattle.

C. Cattle rustlers still change brands when stealing cattle.

D. The good guy always drives a huge silver pickup. Obvious throwback to when the good guy always rode a horse named 'Silver'.

E. The guy with the black cowboy hat is the bad guy. I picked this out at the beginning of the episode.

F. Thus, I am obviously psychic. You will all bow in fear and trembling.

Posted by Ardith at 12:36 AM

December 28, 2003

In Which Ardith Contemplates Life at Home

Hm... My folks are off for a three-day vacation...


Anyway, I'm going to take this time to write a long and probably depressing blog post. I'm not too depressed right now, but I'm sure that will change in the next few minutes. Just warning you ahead of time.

It hasn't been easy coming home this Christmas break. I knew my dad wasn't doing well, but it never really sinks in until I see it for myself. He's only a up a few hours in the day, if at all. It's not that he's doing especially badly, it's just that he doesn't have the energy to be up around. He feels better when he's laying down, and so he does. It's partly the fact that he was not doing well for so long earlier this fall. Between the defibrillator replacement, the stomach infection, and the new medication, he just hasn't been able to bounce back at all. It must be incredibly frustrating.

It starting to get to me, that's for sure. Some of the little kids think this is normal life. And for all I know, maybe it is now. Maybe he'll never get better. To be truthful, unless some major change occurs, I don't think he will. And that's pretty tough to take. Ever since my dad first had heart trouble, about 9 years ago, we've all always had this idea in our heads that he would get all better. After all, if the pacemaker keeps his heart going, and the defibrillator keeps it from going to fast, and the medication fixes whatever else is wrong, he'll get all better, right?

No, not really.

For 5 years, things weren't too bad at all. He got most of his strength back after spending 6 weeks in the hospital, he was working, he was even working on the house. Then they replaced that first defibrillator, he got shocked several times when the new one went off (fortunately!), and he got a nasty intestinal bug that put him back in the hospital for a week. He bounced back from that, mostly, but it wasn't a year before his defibrillator went off again. It's definitely been going off more often the past couple of years, which means his heart is getting worse. Things have pretty much been all downhill, at least from my point of view.

Maybe I can see it better than the others, since I've been away so much. Maybe they can all see it, too, but just won't say anything. I think my dad knows it, or at least fears it. I'm sure my mom knows it, but she doesn't want to believe it. Sharon might see it. She will in another year, anyway. The rest of the kids don't.

He won't die, not for a long time yet. But he won't get any better. Not without a miracle, anyway.

Bleah. So much for Christmas.

See, I told you it would get depressing. And now I've actually said it in print. Nobody in my family reads this. Not yet, anyway. I suppose it's just as well.

I need to go cause trouble somewhere. Something to distract me.

Posted by Ardith at 05:56 PM

December 25, 2003

In Which Ardith Skips the Movie to Play Games

Merry Christmas everybody!

The kiddos are busy watching Scrooge in the next room, so I have a little peace and quiet for a few minutes. And, since I seem to have an addiction which can only be satisfied by a few hours in front of a computer monitor, that is a good thing.

*wanders off to play AoE2*

Posted by Ardith at 11:17 AM

December 24, 2003

In Which the Journey Through Mordor Becomes Vivid

Oh. Yes. I went to see Return of the King.

*grins happily*

I enjoyed very much, of course. Shelob was creepy; I don't like spiders at the best of times, and neither does anyone else in my family. I could hear my sister sucking in her breath several times while Sam was fighting the spider.

I went to see the movie with my two oldest younger siblings in the little theater only 25 minutes from here. It's a nice little place; it's been refurbished recently, and it only has one or two movie showings an evening. Obviously, most movies don't get there on opening day, but they tend to get some of the better ones fairly quickly. Plus, the tickets are only $5.

While Sharon was getting creeped out by the spider and gasping at Denothor falling to a flaming death, Jason was enjoying the battle scenes immensely. I knew he would. I did, after all. There's nothing quite like seeing hundreds of horsemen coming over a hill, headed straight for you. All in all, it was a great way to spend 3-1/2 hours. Maybe we can go see it again when Heather gets here...

Well, the servers are running happily, we got our new(ish) van today, and I got to spend two lovely hours driving to Waterloo and back in the Corolla. It's been a good day, and tomorrow's Christmas, with lots of food, and much general relaxation. I'm going to make sure and enjoy it.

Posted by Ardith at 10:08 PM

December 23, 2003

In Which Ardith Experiences Anticipation

Only 45 more minutes, and then we're off. First to Walmart, then to get a bite to eat, and then...

*shivers in gleeful expectation*

Posted by Ardith at 04:11 PM

December 21, 2003

In Which Ardith Discusses Local Anesthesia And SCSI

Where to start?

Ah, yes. The wisdom teeth. To begin with, I'll never look at a hammer and chisel the same way again. And I didn't even get any nitrous oxide. I was very disappointed. Instead, they gave me sedatives until I was nearly asleep, but still awake enough to follow directions like "Open your mouth." Then the dentist proceeds to start giving me local anesthetic. I think I had about 6-8 shots in the end, but it's all a little blurry.

Enter hammer and chisel. I swear, that's what they used. Apparently my teeth had to be pried loose from a very comfortable spot. It's very weird to hear the pounding all through your head, and yet feel no pain. Having successfully removed the teeth, they put a couple of stitches where each one was, packed my mouth full of gauze, and sent me home with lots of ibuprofen.

Several days later, the most annoying thing is the stitches which won't be taken out until tomorrow.

I was most productive yesterday, however. My dad happened to come down while I was lying on the couch, thinking about taking a nap, and pointed out that it would probably be a good day to switch the harddrives in the server, since most of the kids were gone practicing their Christmas play. Me being logical, if nothing else, I realized he might have a point, and started tearing stuff down. Lessons learned:

1-- One of the four new SCSI drives doesn't like to spin up. For unexplainable reasons.
2 -- It always takes me about 3 hours to get LILO to boot on the new SCSI boot drive. The reasons for this are numerous.
3 -- One of these reasons is the simple fact that I have never figured out how to get the SCSI controller to boot from the cdrom.
4 -- Another reason is that 50% of the random linux boot floppies I pulled out didn't have SCSI drivers.
5 -- A further 25% weren't working at all.
6 -- The floppy drive wasn't working for awhile, until I figured out that the 2-inch adapter from the power cable to the floppy drive was shorting something out. Don't ask me how, it's just a simple extension of four wires.

Having finally got the new 45-Gig drive to boot, I proceeded to copy all the reams of virtually useless data over. It only took 3 hours longer than it was supposed to.

And then, of course, I sat down and watched The Fellowship of the Ring. Two Towers is slated for tonight, and I'll see Return of the King sometime on Tuesday. Finally.

Posted by Ardith at 05:06 PM

December 18, 2003

In Which Ardith is in Pain

I got my wisdom teeth pulled/dug out today. More details when my jaw stops feeling like it has four huge holes carved in it.

On the bright side, the local WB channel is showing 2 episodes of MASH a night. Thus, I still have an excuse to stay up until 12:30am.

Other than that, it's still Iowa, so not much is happening.

*goes off to check local showings of RotK for when jaw stops throbbing*

Posted by Ardith at 05:24 PM

December 16, 2003

In Which Ardith Mourns a Loss

Last night I learned something horrible had happened while I was gone.

The local FOX channels replaced the nightly showing of Voyager episodes I used to poke fun at with infomercials for electronic fishing lures.

My world is falling down around my ears.

Posted by Ardith at 10:08 PM

December 15, 2003

In Which Ardith Gets Up at 3:15am

I'm home. As evidenced by the fact that 50% of the population around here actually wants me to play computer games, so they can watch. Meanwhile, the other 50% wants me to fix their computers so they can play too.

However, it took rather a while to get here. Sunday morning, I had to be up at the bright and happy time of 3:15am. Except that it was neither bright nor happy, being instead dark and annoying. I had to get up at such an ungodly hour because my friend's flight left at 6am from DFW. Since I was catching a ride with her to the airport, and was in fact sleeping at her house, it was rather necessary that I get up.

So, I get to the airport, get all checked in by 5:30 or so, walk all the way up and down the A terminal just for the fun of it, and get something that McDonald's likes to call a Breakfast Burrito. I sit down to read my book for a few hours, and it slowly seeps into my brain that all the television screens in the entire place are saying the same thing. Of course, this is to be expected, since they always all say the same thing, but this time they were saying that somebody named Saddam Hussein had been caught. Eventually I woke up enough to realize that this was vaguely important, and wandered off to get some horribly over-priced cappuccino.

Being by this time nearly immune to caffeine, that didn't help much. I continued wandering around the terminal, noticed that the Intel booth which kept advertising free tryouts of their wireless technology wasn't open, and read for awhile more. Then I went off to the Dell booth which had just opened, and verified that they had cut off all access to non-Dell websites. Most dreadfully annoying of them. Then I sacked out in an out-of-the-way area of gate C10 and slept for a little while.

My flight finally started boarding at around 10:30, and I managed to look like I was sleeping for the hour and half flight home. At which point my mom picks me up from the airport, we stop to get me some food from McDonald's, and we go home. The first thing that greets me when I step into the door is Kendra saying "Jason likes Macs now."


I just can't win. But at least I don't have classes for four weeks.

Posted by Ardith at 09:43 PM

December 12, 2003

In Which Ardith Sleeps Again

Power is back on. Of course, this means it's naptime...

Posted by Ardith at 01:34 PM

In Which Ardith Hears Sounds

Oooh... gather 'round, kids, it's Story Time with Ardith!

Having watched 6 episodes of Trigun, and feeling appropriately sleepy, I went to bed at around 1am last night. Normally, I would have slept until noon this morning, but this was not a normal morning.

I was awakened at around 9:30 by what sounded like a cat screeching. Or, at least it did to my half-awake mind. After lying in bed for a few minutes, I realized it was somebody on the second floor, singing at the top of their lungs with the window open.

Something seemed vaguely wrong about the situation; it finally occurred to me what it was. See, on the average morning, I am unable to hear anything outside my room. I definitely don't hear any over-zealous vocal musicians, and I also am unable to hear the footsteps of people walking on the sidewalk outside.

As that thought seeped slowly into my brain, I realized that the room was quieter than normal. Most would have simply chalked it up to the fact that my roommate had already left for the semester, rolled over, and gone back to sleep. I, however, am not so easily satisfied.

It took nearly half an hour of consistent and analytic thought before I could put my finger on the low noise level inside my room. Once all the pieces fell into place, I sat straight up in my bed, in a somewhat numb state of shock. My computer was not on!

See, I leave my computer on all the time. Part of this is due to me being symbiotically attached to it, and part is due to me not wanting to sit through the boot-up process in the morning. Thus, the low hum of the fans is always in the background. Or is when it is on, anyway.

Being by now somewhat curious, I leaned over to look at my alarm clock to see if the power had gone off during the night. As my alarm clock is most definitely not battery-powered, this is usually a good indicator. And today, it was a better indicator than ever before. See, my alarm clock was not even on.

And thus is was that I learned that the power was off in the entire dorm. I tried to go back to sleep, but some early awakeners from the next dorm came and shouted up to people on the floor above me, having no power in their dorm either, and being quite bored. Annoyed with life in general, I got out of bed, took a shower with the help of a flashlight, ate a not very interesting lunch at SAGA, and tromped off to the computer labs to pour out my angst upon the world.

Because, as luck would have it, the power is not off all across campus. It is merely off in Gilbert and Thomas halls. This, of course, is due to the fact that the construction people simply could not wait another three days before breaking a power line with the backhoe. No, they had to do it the day before graduation and everybody leaves for Christmas Break.

And now I'm going to traipse back to my room and see if they've fixed it yet. With my luck, they won't have, and my room will now have an average temperature of 52 degrees.

Posted by Ardith at 12:51 PM

December 11, 2003

In Which Ardith Finds Trigun

Another semester done. No more papers, no more finals, no nothing. All I have to do is pack up my stuff and get on the plane for home.

Home. And that means snow and ice. Which I haven't really seen for a year.

That's incredibly sad.

And since I'm in an experimenting mood tonight, I'm going to see how many episodes of Trigun I can watch before completely crashing.

Posted by Ardith at 10:35 PM

December 08, 2003

In Which A Term is Defined

Two finals down, and only three more to go. I know I did quite well on the first two; hopefully I'll be as confident about the rest.

And now, as I pound away at the 6-page paper due at midnight, an insightful and thought-provoking question from the page of Software Systems review questions:

Q: "What is a person-month?"

Answer, by me: "The politically correct term for man-month. Please refer here for more details."

Posted by Ardith at 03:54 PM

December 05, 2003

In Which a Glimpse is Made Into Ardith's Heritage

My mom is hilarious. Below is partial IM transcript. I was away at the time.

Mom: Greetings O digital one, I will take a moment to brag about all the things I did today:

Me: I am obviously not at my computer right now, so I must be away, asleep, or temporarily insane. If #1, I will be back eventually, if #2, I'll wake up whenever it becomes absolutely necessary to do so, and if #3... ...well, the prognosis is uncertain. The doctor has recommended gifts of computer hardware to boost recovery, and donations of money (cash only) are also welcome.

Thank you for your time and please try again later.

Mom: (I think all this heavy cramming is going to your head....)anyway, more about ME. As well as the usually arduous task of perusing the news sites, I 1)took the trash cans to the dump,

Mom: 2) took care of paperwork, with the added advantage of dragging two ragamuffings along for effect, (Ethan and Nolan),

Mom: 3) Mixed up cookie dough for twelve dozen ginger snaps after arriving home from dump and discovering no one had bothered to fix lunch (I did) or put the baby to sleep (I did)

Mom: 4) drag Daddy out of bed so he and Jason could go along in freezing red car to Cedar Falls* to pick up fixed van, which tremulous but capable 15 year old** drove home,

Mom: 5) BAKED twelve dozen ginger snaps for cookie exchange at Diane Nolte's tomorrow am, which I discovered takes TWO HOURS, and which I am attending by myself :-D,

Mom: 6) threw together a bang up supper of frozen chicken nuggets, frozen french fries, and canned pineapple chunks, the latter of which arrived in a box of food from people at church (labeled "for poor, indigent Hoyts" - well, ok, maybe it just said "for Hoyts")

Mom: 7) discovered that approximately 7 minutes after chicken nuggets go into 450 degree oven, smoke begins to pour from oven door and smoke alarm will sound ten minutes later, adding further flavor enhancement to 144 ginger cookies,

Mom: 8) spread warmth and cheer to poor indigent college student, sufferering in inclement Texas weather***,

Mom: 9)put off reading to kids while spreading cheer to said, poor, indigent Texas collegiate

Mom: :-D :-D :-P :-D

Mom: Have a good sleep, and, "if we can spread a little cheer into your humdrum life....."****

* About an hour away
** The 'Jason' referred to in same section
*** College student would be me, of course
**** My mom has obviously seen "Singing in the Rain" recently.

Posted by Ardith at 01:05 AM