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  • Bruce H. McIntosh
    scotsman@afn.org
    Visit my work homepage
    Last revised Jun 10, 2017

    You take too many trips down memory lane
    You take too many trips down memory lane

    The (No Longer Today's) Daily Scotsman

    aka Something Approximating A Journal


    2013

    September 11,2013

    My recollection of 9-11-2001

    September 4,2013

    September 3,2013

    It really hit me after meeting Amanda at the Copper Monkey for lunch yesteray (in the middle of a torrential downpour) but Amanda's well and truly more or less out on her own now; she's moved in with some friends who live a lot closer to the UF campus. And with Laura dual-enrolling at Santa Fe,I can now lay claim to both my girls being in college. That kinda hurts my head.

    In other news,I spent Labor Day laboring on my poor neglected car. Now she's sporting new rotors and pads up front,and new urethane sway bar bushings. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I figure on tearing into the rear brakes,which being drums will likely take until the heat death of the universe to finish. I also have a new,larger sway bar for the rear,part of my attempt to tame the understeer and body roll so's I can go careening around onramps without even thinking about the brake pedal. Whee!

    The front bathroom wreck-and-renovate project continues apace,sorta. I did get the drywall the other night (thanks, Laura, for helping me load it onto and unload it off of the roof of the car). On the advice of a youtube video,I've picked up an air chisel from Cheap Chinese Tool company to finish stripping the old thin-set off the concrete floor. Quotes are pending from the tile guy for tub alocve and the floor.

    2012

    April 27,2012

    As we head into the meaty part of the Presidential election cycle circus, I've rediscovered one the the all-time classic rock tunes, and inflicted upon it a musical rant about the current administration and its (I started to say unprecedented, but the action itself is hardly unprecedented, just the scope and the slope of the first and second derivatives) unrestrained passion for spending more than it takes in in revenue. And here we have it...

    2011

    September 20, 2011

    After contemplating at some length various retrocomputing sites, in particular Typewritten, I am forced to concede a certain lack of attentiveness to maintaining my website here. Thus, I begin edging toward a Dramatic Renewal of Purpose™, or at least toward a greater motivation to keeping this place up to date. Upcoming - a complete redo of the Musical Interests and Geek Gear pages, along with what will likely be a trashing and gradual reloading of the Photos section.

    August 31, 2011

    After several exchanges on IRC and Facebook, I was forced to scrounge up, clean up, and webify my half done Hamster Dance song. Yes, it needs another verse, but the creative juices just arent flowing in that direction right now. Luckily for you people Out There™!

    2010

    October 27,2010

    Just in case anyone's actually reading this blather,there are updates in the poetry section.

    June 13,2010

    Update to the Ham Radio section - an article describing the latest iteration of my 2 meter Yagi,this time with a PVC boom that won't warp,twist and disintegrate in the rain.

    March 18,2010

    Added to the Writings section - several pages of haiku!

    January 7,2010

    I've added a new section to the site,which will contain my various polemics,diatribes,thinkpieces,essays,movie reviews,poetry and other assorted spoutings. Check the Written by me entry in the main menu.

    January 5,2010

    Happy Birthday,Amanda! Sweet 16 at last!

    January 3,2010

    The Manhattan Declaration

    January 1,2010

    Happy new year!

    2009

    December 15,2009

    I just burned my lunch hour renovating and updating the Audio endeavors page. I tossed some out of date material,added some photos,and rewrote some of the descriptions.

    December 1,2009

    It occurs to me to mention that I've got a bunch of photos up over on Facebook. This ought to be a link to all my photo albums; if I understand Facebook's latest (and ever changing) security policies,the pictures should be accessible to everybody.

    November 14,2009

    Happy Birthday,Laura!

    I got in a metric century down in Bartow. The forecast had called for light breezes,which turned out to be mulitirectional 20MPH winds. If I hadn't jumped in to that group from Tampa,I'd have killed myself! Thanks for letting me hang,guys. It was a really nice ride; I'll be doing it next year too.

    October 24,2009

    Finally something significant enough to immortalize on this page,as opposed to just a LiveJournal or Facebook mention. I just did my first organized ride in 17 years - 55 mile loop of the Santa Fe Century. Aside from the cold and rainy bit,it went well. Time to find some more rides to do.

    June 26,2009

    Started working on updates to the audio/video pages after Eli of The Concrete Subs (as opposed to Eli of The New Fatherhood) pointed out how out of date they were. My excuse is that I had just updated everything,but the AFN disk calamity ate it all.

    June 14,2009

    Finished the article about The Two by Four Tiltover Tower.

    June 5,2009

    Finally got around to writing an article about the current 6 meter,2 meter and 70cm antennas,along with the new wooden VHF tower. Some other minor site tweaks are occuring as well.

    April 26,2009

    More repairs and updates - this time the Ham radio shack description. I'm beat; I went in at 06:00 for maintenance,and while I was only gone about half an hour,I didn't get back to sleep until just 10 minutes before the alarm went off to get me up for band rehearsal and church. (*yawn*stretch*)

    April 23,2009

    The website repairs proceed apace. Thanks to some cached copies on Google,I've gotten much more recent versions of the Ham radio section and Quotes page put in place.

    April 21,2009

    Due to some financial serendipity,I've acquired another six string. This has prompted a rather intensive rewrite of the Guitar Stuff page,and the addition of a Guitar Gallery page so's I can show off the pretty axes. Enjoy!

    April 12,2009

    I've got to go through the entire site and try to reconstruct the last year's worth of alterations and updates. Won't that be fun. Oh,and remember to back the whole site up to my home pc at least once a week. Just in case,see.

    March 31,2009

    RAID5 Catastrophe

    AFN suffered a series of hardware failures leading to the complete loss of its user data store and email. The most viable backup was several months old,and was not complete. So,looks like I've lost all my cool graphics and photos. It's going to take forever and a day to rebuild the website. You can bet I'll be fanatical about making my *own* backups from now on! Be patient whilst I try to cobble everything back together. Losing the most recent set of M4 macros isn't helping a bit,let me tell you.

    2008

    September 30,2008

    Well well well. Looks like the ladies and gentlemen of the House discovered their collective spinal column. In honor of the current banking hullabaloo,I've updated the quotes page with several pithy weighings-in on the topic by various former luminaries of the American political scene. Enjoy,and don't forget to thank your Congresscritters for not bending over the metaphorical desk for the bankers.

    September 23,2008

    And the cleanup continues,this time with touchups on the guitar and camera pages,and on the music listing. I really do need to take better care of this site.

    September 18,2008

    More updates,more updates! I've done some more cleanup and rewrites on the audio page,the comics page and the geek gear page. Oh,and Sue and I are closer to having a basic approach on how we want to manage the photos. I just have to get that new server built and online so we have some room to play around with different organizational layouts and stuff.

    August 28,2008

    Lordy lordy are things getting long in the tooth around here! I've got to update the ham radio,audio and photo pages. Yeah yeah,I know,I've been threatening to redo the photo pages for years now. Any day now,you'll see. Any day.

    May 8,2008

    Happy Birthday,Dad,assuming you're even aware of the passage of time,up there where time has no meaning...

    March 29,2008

    Happy Birthday,Sue!

    February 13,2008

    Happy Anniversary,Sue! Whoda thunk it,but we made it to TWENTY YEARS together! How about THEM apples!

    2007 back to 2004

    [ed.note - The huge gap between 2008 and 2003 is due to the AFN disk crash debacle. I couldn't find a cached copy of this page more recent that what I've got here,so I guess the last few years of miscellaney are gone. Alas.]

    2003

    May 9,2003

    Ok,I promised Mom I'd put up some pictures of the ham shack; they can be gotten to by going to the Amateur Radio page. I now have Dad's old Collins S-Line HF equipment set up on the self-same desk it sat on all through my childhood. I'm working (slowly) on learning the code so I can upgrade to General and actually USE all this stuff!

    May 8,2003

    First things first: today would have been my father's 72nd birthday. Rest in Peace in the arms of our Savior,Dad!

    Success!! I logged my first 6 meter QSOs today. I had some spare time between taking Amanda to the doctor's office and going to work,so I was installing the shelves over the computer and listening to 50.150 when all of a sudden I started hearing traffic. I made contact with K3KYR (Jeff) in Bombay,NY (FN24) and W1BS (Joe) in Pittsfield,MA (FN32). Thanks,gents! After work,things were still cooking on 6; I hit a local,KB4CRT (John) in Micanopy,and a driveby,KG4OHH (Mark) operating mobile out on I-75 on his way north. And the propogation's only supposed to get better as the spring moves into summer. I guess 10W into an omni antenna is enough! This is fun!

    May 7,2003

    How about that. I caught a band opening and heard folks talking all over the place,but never made contact with anyone. Maybe 10W through an omnidirectional antenna is inadequate.

    May 4,2003

    Phew! This weekend has put me through the wringer,between stuff going on around the house and being paged several times for various crises and pseudo-crises at work. I did manage to find a half hour to climb up on the roof and replace the currently unused 2 meter vertical with the 6 meter J-pole I built yesterday.

    May 3,2003

    Well,well,well. Time to get busy on the family room again,if for no other reason than I want the ham shack to have a nice tidy completed room in which to live! :- I swung by Home Depot and picked up the shelves and brackets for the wall over the computer. I also got some more brackets and hardware for the shelves in the back bedroom closet. Finally, I picked up a pile of copper pipe and assorted fittings, flux, solder and such. I then spent the evening stealing 5 minute slices of time here and there to measure, cut and solder together a quick and dirty plumber's nightmare of a J-pole antenna for 6 meters.

    April 29, 2003

    The Great Antenna Contemplation continues apace. I've built a proof-of-concept for a compact folding 1/2 wave dipole for 6; once I've resolved a couple of lingering kinks, I'll be building a 3 element Yagi that'll collapse down far enough to fit in a backpack. My first goal is to be able to operate on 6 SSB from the beach over Memorial Day. Longer term, I want to find a nice slice of ground for Field Day.

    April 26, 2003

    Well, Sue's out of town at the Charisma Womens' Conference in Daytona, and her folks are watching the kids. I've got the place to myself until Sunday afternoon. Woohoo! That means I'll have plenty of time to lay around, soak in a novel, and catch up on enough lost sleep that I might actually feel human again.

    Today was the Gainesville Hamfest. Like any good bargain hunter I circled the tables and tailgates repeatedly, dithered, walked away, bargained, walked away again, and finally ducked out to the Credit Union to get some cash. I came home with an Icom IC-255a 2 meter FM rig for the ham shack, and a really neat little MFJ 9406 6 meter SSB transceiver. Now I'm hip-deep in comparing costs/benefits/difficulties of building/buying various kinds of 6 meter antenna. This is Fun Stuff!

    April 25, 2003

    Uhm, well, uhm, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Easter.

    No big changes planned for the site, apart from the neverending goal (never actually realized but constantly restated) of properly organizing the photo album.

    December 12, 2002

    KG4WKY

    I now have an amateur radio license - Technician class. Time to blow the dust off Dad's 2M rig and get to chewin' the rag! Note to self: learn Morse Code!

    December 11, 2002

    Got my desk moved and my linux box up and running again. It's 0130. Time for bed.

    December 10, 2002 again

    Here's a shot of the west side of the family room, just before we started moving all the furniture out of the office and into this space. The door to the right leads to a walkin closet full of tools, test gear and stuff, and thence to the door to the carport. The laundry room is between the camera and the closet to the right. Just out of sight to the left is the doorway into the living room. There's another double window right behind the camera. The funny little zigzag in the wall on the left is an artifact of the previous owner's construction when the room was originally closed in; that used to line up with the tongue-and-groove panelling that he used to cover over the old exterior siding. At one time this was the carport; the wall to the left used to have a window that looked out from the living room. The floor turned out very nicely; the picture just skims the surface of doing it justice.


    December 10, 2002

    PROGRESS! (Pictures to follow later) I've finished half the family room (as family room half finished - you work out the difference :-) ). Sue and the kids are cleaning out the office now, preparatory to our moving everything into the family room tonight. I guess I'd better get the new phone line run in from the demarc block, and make sure there's enough signal on the cable feed to run the cable modem. Yee ha!

    December 8, 2002

    Well, someone finally managed to catch me in the act, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to update the Guitar page. The pictures were taken at our church Christmas dinner last night.

    December 7, 2002

    Remember Pearl Harbor.

    I passed Element 2 of the FCC Amateur Radio exam. By the end of next week, I should have my Technician class ham license. Woohoo!

    December 1, 2002

    Hmm, time to do some cleanup around here. All the September-November stuff has been moved to the journal, and I guess I should at least try to start getting a handle on the mishmash of uncaptioned, uncategorized pictures laying about the place.

    Thank you Jordan! He warned me not to update to the current state of the OpenZaurus unstable feed, as it would promptly befoul my Zaurus with all manner of bugs. Must wait and reflash in a few days when the crew get finished chasing down and squashing said bugs. I still have a fair pile of "issues" with the current state of OpenZaurus, which I hope will be fixed soon.

    November 20, 2002

    Well, they've gone and done it. The U.S. Congress has passed the death knell of a free society. The Homeland Security Act is headed for the President's desk. I think this is a good time to quote Mr. Franklin: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    September 29, 2002

    First impressions of the Zaurus: The built-in keyboard is fairly easy to use, though I do have a little trouble with the top row - my thumbs are kind of big. I love the display; it's bright, clear, and easy to read even in sunlight. The calendar software included with it does leave a lot to be desired, especially coming off of DateBk5 on the Visor. I'll be scouting around, looking for a better calendar (and probably address book as well, I don't know yet). I'm also in the market for a stack of cheap CompactFlash cards to keep things like pictures, references, and MP3s on.

    I've made plans to attend my 20th high school reunion next month. It'll be interesting to see what two decades has done to those folks!

    September 28, 2002

    DOWN WITH SPORT HONDA! It looks very much like the mechanic who gave an estimate on my brother's overheating Accord tried to pull a fast one. Seems that the radiator acquired a substantial leak during its sojurn at the dealership, the dimensions and shape of which were strongly indicative of the forceful application of a large straight blade screwdriver.

    The Gators had 2/3 of a team out there this evening, but fortunately it was just enough to hold off Kentucky. Sorry, Ray. We'll give you another shot at it come basketball season.

    September 27, 2002

    New Toy Report: I just picked up a Sharp Zaurus at Office Depot for a very good price. See, they matched BestBuy's sale price, and tacked a $50.00 mail-in rebate offer on top. Sweet! It's a mondo cool gizmo, with features galore.

    September 26, 2002

    A lot's been happening lately, all piled up at once. The drywall guy is almost finished in the family room, meaning I should be able to paint next week. Time to find a flooring contractor! The laundry room's finished (except for the drop ceiling, which'll take no more than an hour or two at the most - that stuff goes up in a hurry) right down to Sue's cutesy-foo wallpaper border. What is with her and her wallpaper borders? It's a laundry room for crying out loud!

    I spent far too much time working on PCs last night. The upshot was, swap motherboards between the server and the simulation PC, so as to get a faster CPU, SDRAM and AGP video in the game box. No go. First the older non-AGP motherboard won't recognize the 60GB drive in the server (and is too old for a BIOS update to fix it), and then the AGP motherboard with the K6-2-500 won't even *fit* in the game box's case; the CPU and heatsink try to occupy the same space as the drive cage. So, switch 'em back. I did, however, move the K6-2-500 into the game box and the -400 into the server. I finally got linux reinstalled on the server at about 1:45 AM.

    The other big deal was going to be my linux workstation. It was acquiring a pair of ultrawide SCSI hard drives, a Hauppage WinTV-Go-FM TV/FM/video capture card, and a GeForce4 MX440 video card. Trouble was, I got everything put together, hit the power button... and got, "Beeeeep beep.... beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep!" NOT something I wanted to deal with at 2:00 AM! So, the workstation is hors d'combat at the moment. More on that tonight, I guess.

    September 11, 2002

    Obligatory thoughts given the date: I'd hate to see peoples' fear and paranoia, as made manifest by hopefully well-intentioned but ill-conceived legislation and Orwellian regulations, unravel the fabric of our free society. Recall Franklin's oft-quoted comments on liberty and security. Freedom implies risk. I would much rather live in a society wherein I *might* be exposed to dangers from others than a society wherein I could face summary incarceration for unspecified lengths of time because I *might* pose a danger to others. In such an environment our own government becomes far more dangerous to us than any external threat supposedly being addressed.

    Observing the behavior of the recording and movie industries lately, I am reminded of a classic old Rush song (that probably gets very little airplay in today's homogenized pop culture):

    One likes to believe in the freedom of music
    But glittering prizes and endless compromises
    Shatter the illusion of integrity
    Rush, "Spirit of The Radio"

    September 9, 2002

    Well, well, well. Sue's new shiny little Shuttle cube came in, and is now up and running. Further, I've finally gotten enough of SAMBA figured out to get the house fileserver serving files. Toss in getting the laundry room painted & tiled and the washer and dryer back in place, and looks like the weekend was pretty productive.

    Oh, and the 'canes disassembled the living daylights out of the Gators. Can't have everything, I guess.

    September 6, 2002

    So tell me, why is it, when I've taken a shower and I'm drying my hair, do only the brown hairs fall out, and not the grey hairs?

    September 5, 2002

    Well, I could say I've been too busy to update the site this last few weeks, and I wouldn't be too far from telling the truth. Fact is I've just been too lazy to update the site. There's a whole spate of pictures and prose on The Renovation that Ate My Life that I need to reformat and put up here. One of these days I will.

    here's a first shot at The Water Heater Installation, part of The Renovation that Ate My Life.

    July 22, 2002

    Not too much going on lately. Sue's folks came up last weekend; we got the new subfloor built over half the family room - 16" grid of 2x4 with 3/4" plywood glued and nailed to it. It's solid, let me tell you!

    July 17, 2002

    Sue and I have reached an agreement on the family room, to wit: Whatever is not finished by Labor Day, we'll hire someone else to do. Watch this space for updates as the deadline approaches!

    July 4, 2002

    Happy Birthday America! The 4th of July was a rather rainy event at the UF Bandshell, where due to poor miking, we heard what sounded like the Gainesville All French Horn Ensemble with Supporting Players, rather than the Gainesville Community Band. Oh well. At least I got to see my good buddy Everett bald!

    July 3, 2002

    CCNP!

    I passed the CCNP Remote Access test just now. I've now finished the CCNP certification, just in time for Networkers! Yippee!

    June 30, 2002

    Well, I finally got my home office straight enough to rearrange the computer desk. My main workstation (currently a 900MHz Athlon dual booting linux and win98 (for games)) is now sitting on top of the desk. You can see it at right. That made room for the fileserver (a 500MHz K6-2 running linux, soon to be downgraded to 400 MHz to free the faster cpu for a dedicated win98 games box).

    When I want to run a flightsim, I just move the mouse up off the keyboard tray and plug in the joystick and throttle. The box is running FlightGear under linux. The stick and throttle are Thrustmaster's TopGun Platinum and Attack Throttle; the Elite rudder pedals are under the desk.


    June 27, 2002

    Three down, one to go... Just passed the CCNP Support test. I'm going to try to get to the Dialup test before Networkers week after next.

    June 25, 2002

    Woohoo! I just picked up a Thrustmaster TQS throttle off EBAY to go with my FLCS joystick. Can flight simulation bliss be far behind?


    June 20, 2002

    Ok, so it's been a little while since I've updated the site. The cobwebs are getting a little thick and whatnot, and a pile of pictures wait to be trimmed down and uploaded. Maybe I'll get around to it. Meanwhile, let's fill in a couple of the more significant highlights:

    June 17, 2002

    Ok, I finally broke down and dug the Athlon box out of the office closet and set it up. Hmm... guess it's time to put up the obligatory "geek hardware" page... anyhow, my main box is now an Athlon 900 with 384M, 30G, a DVD drive and a CD burner, running RedHat 7.2. Life is fast again.

    June 16, 2002

    Fathers' Day: I had to work this morning. Humpf. Had to install some terminal strips and convert output voltages on some really huge uninterruptible power supplies at work, preparatory to some major equipment moves to be done the following Sunday. Oh well. Got done just barely in time to get home, gather up the wife and daughters and get to church, but we made it on time. I even got to play, which I wasn't really expecting to be able to do today.

    I did have a bout of really missing Dad. I started to think, "It's Fathers' Day, better call Da- oh." I think Sue's father is probably going to assume an even greater importance in my life than he currently has.

    Sue and the girls managed to sneak out to MediaPlay at some point on Saturday, and picked up a couple of DVDs for me: Rob Roy and The Philadelphia Story, two of my alltime favorite movies. Neat!

    June 10, 2002

    All right! Two down, two to go. I just passed the CCNP Switching exam. I'm going to see if I can't take the Support and Dialup exams both before Networkers in July.

    May 15, 2002

    Happy Birthday, Mom!

    May 10, 2002

    Well, that trip's over with. We just got back from Mom's. I thought we were packed to the gills going up there. We had just barely enough space to sort of slot the girls into the back seat amongst all the stuff. Mom and Dave are starting into the Great Cleanup with a vengence, with stacks of stuff going directly from the basement to the county dump. Who'd have thought that one man, even if he was a packrat and a model railroader, could accumulate so many odd-shaped bits of plywood and lumber? Anyhow, Dave and I managed to clear one long aisle down the side of the basement. Sometime later this year I'll head back north to disassemble the railroad (All that rail, all those spikes... hooboy).

    I mentioned all the stuff in the car? Well, Mom let me choose a few items that were Dad's and might have sentimental value or actual use for us, and set 'em aside. I was able to get some things in the car, including Dad's most recent computer (an Athlon 900 with all the trimmings (but not the monitor, no room for it in the Honda)).

    Seems I also brought home a rather painful back injury, stemming from the night Dad left us. Dave and I had to shove a rather large, heavy china cabinet out of the way so the folks from the funeral home could get their gurney down the hallway. Well, I evidently messed up my lower back moving that thing, which made the rest of the trip a studied exercise in slowly, carefully getting in and out of beds and cars. Let me tell you, two days in a packed-tight Honda, most of the time unable to drive, was not a picnic!

    May 8, 2002

    Imagine that... Dad's 81st birthday. Do birthdays even matter in eternity? Happy birthday, Dad; I miss you!

    May 3, 2002

    This is the hard one, though not as hard as you might expect. My father, Kenneth McIntosh, died of leukemia this evening at just this side of 10:00pm. Sue and I and the kids had just gotten into Maryland in the afternoon. Dad was in a bad way, not really aware of his surroundings, unable to move, etc. I went in and prayed for him and told him I loved him, and he squeezed my hand, started to sit up, and tried to speak, so I know he knew we were there. Later the girls were able to say goodnight to Grandpa. About an hour after that his breathing became labored and slow. Then it stopped.

    Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." My comfort and my great joy (and not a little relief, too) is that my father knew Jesus and claimed Him as lord. So, while I grieve at his leaving us and miss him quite a lot, I can honestly say that my mourning has been comforted. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is kneeling at the feet of Jesus Christ, entering into an eternity with Him. So how can I mourn overmuch, knowing where Dad is and Who he is with?

    April 25, 2002

    YEE HA! I just passed the CCNP Routing exam!

    February 24, 2002

    Whee! We've finally gotten our digital camera. We are now proudly owned by a Canon Powershot G2 4megapixel camera. It's quite nice. The first batch of pictures can be seen here. These are pictures of the drastically-belated birthday party we just threw today for Amanda (Jan. 1), Laura (Nov. 14, shame on us!) and their buddy Josiah (Nov. something or other, shame on his parents too). Now we need to get a couple of really big CompactFlash cards, a CF reader for the linux box, a working CD burner...

    All this points up the need to overhaul the photo section of the website. I'll need to look at how I want to do this. In the meantime, here are some shots from our trip with the Oteros and Amy McConn to the chalet in January.

    Oh, in case anyone didn't know, Franklin Graham is coming to Gainesville in early April. More details to follow.

    More progress on the renovation front: Joe came by and nailed up the last of the siding on the back wall of the family room. Now to caulk, and talk to my painter pal Andy about getting the place painted. Most of the front and back walls are now insulated, except for the pantry. That's this week's goal. Sue wants the pantry done before I do much else, so she can put the kitchen and dining room back in order.

    February 3, 2002

    Yesterday was NOT your typical relaxing Saturday. I started off stapling up insulation in the family room (my skin is *still* itching). Then I spent a good bit of the afternoon stuffing two 35' runs of 2" conduit up into the attic from the laundry room. Now I can run tv cable, phone and network into the bedrooms. That was a gosh-awful tedious job and I'm so glad it's done.

    I hadn't actually planned on doing the conduit yet, but the impending arrival of cable modem service has prompted a change in plans. The office is covering the cable modem service and modem (and maybe a router too) to replace ISDN service for the engineers in the on-call rotation. Finally, REAL bandwidth! Now Sue and I will both be able to work from home without stepping on each others' communications.

    January 15, 2002

    I finally found my RedHat CDs, so now I can install linux on Sue's PC, and in the process bust up that big hard drive into managable chunks of 4GB or so. One of those managable chunks is going to be used to build a periodic mirror backup of the Win98 partition, so when some game of Amanda's eats DirectX or generates some crash-prone combination of flaked out DLLs, we'll have a known-good backup from which to restore. Another of those chunks will get a snapshot copy of the system's old 4GB hard drive, so I can pull it out and use it in another machine. Sue will be so happy that I'm finally able to put the lid back on her machine!

    On the Laura front, the sport model child is now riding without training wheels. Whee! I'm so proud! She's also getting quite fussy about bedtimes. Hmm. We've got to start getting her to exercise more; burn some of that excess energy that 5 year olds seem to have in such an inexhaustable supply.

    I'm starting to look at some web-implementation tools that ought to make maintaining this site a bit easier. As it is now (take a peek at the html that generates these pages for an understanding) I have to touch *every* *single* *page* to make a change to that menubar you see to the left. That's the price of avoiding the evil that is frames, I guess. Anyhow, I'd like to be able to have a set of "content" files, and a "framework" or "menu" file, and just run a script to combine them and spit out the ready-to-browse html. I've had indications that some combination of LaTeX and .dvi-.html conversion would do the trick. Sue's boss had suggested WML as a potential tool; he used to use it to generate his site, www.ulmer.org.

    I also need to look at some tools for better organizing the burgeoning collection of digital photos, many of which I want to display here on the website. Then there's the obligitory description of the ever-expanding home network; the pile of parts is dwindling and the pile of operating PCs is growing. And there's also the... you get the idea. Lots of work still to do on the website.

    January 13, 2002

    Cool! Frankenstein's Monster lives! My latest agglomeration of random parts is now a living, breathing entity. Needs more RAM, tho (well, ok, what system DOESN'T?). The particulars:

    • ASUS P/I-P55T2P4 motherboard (an olide-but-goodie)
    • AMD K6-2-400 (yes, you *can* trick that mobo into running that cpu at that speed, if you've got some REALLY skinny wire and a steady hand)
    • 48MB EDO RAM (geez, SIMMs have gotten pricey)
    • generic Permedia 2V video with 8MB SDRAM (really good OpenGL board)
    • Canopus Pure3D Voodoo1 with 6MB (for GLide support)
    • some junky no-name sound card
    • WD Caviar 20GB hard drive
    • no-name 24x CDROM drive
    • an astonishingly heavy-duty mini-tower case, part of a pile of old pc stuff taken in lieu of cash payment from a client some years back.

    The new box will form the nucleus of a simulation cockpit which will go in the family room next to the computer desk. Once the family room is finished, of course. As if.

    January 7, 2002

    A new year has begun!

    The old year ended with the trip to Maryland. Unfortunately, my buddy Doug was not in Maryland to come over and watch UF *spank* the Terps in the Orange Bowl. Perhaps even more unfortunately from his point of view, he was watching it up close and personal in Miami! Oh well, talk about your crossed wires.

    The trip home managed to find itself routed thru Boone, NC, where there was no snow to speak of, and Charlotte, NC, where there was *plenty* of snow for the kids to play in.

    On tap for this year: finishing up the family room, building a pc for the stereo (dvd player/games box/mp3 player), and starting on the deck in the back yard. Check back in a few months to see how I'm doing on all this. :-)

    December 27, 2001

    SIDING! My carpenter buddy Joe and I got the siding up on the front of the once and future family room yesterday. HardieBoard is neat stuff, but it's a bear to cut. Next time I'll rent the special shears instead of using a masonary blade in the circular saw. Too much dust!

    Christmas, Part One, was unexpectedly spent in Largo with Sue's folks, instead of in Maryland with mine; Sue wasn't quite up to a 14 hour drive last weekend. We'll do Christmas, The Sequel this weekend and hit the road for Maryland. Observation: I-95 from about Jacksonville to Richmond is a radio graveyard. NOTHING to listen to!

    December 18, 2001

    First things first. Sue is ok. She's resting comfortably (well, comfortably because she's amped-up on Demerol) after semi-emergency surgery to eradicate lots of gallstones and her gall bladder. Needless to say, hanging in the hospital right before Christmas is nobody's idea of a fun time, and our vacation plans look like Battleship Row after Nagumo's planes were through with it.

    Uhm, for the UFies (and you *know* who you are!), The Cat's on The Table

    December 14, 2001

    Sigh. Here we go again. The wagon is in the shop. This time it's power steering; the pump and hoses are leaking like proverbial sieves. Maybe I *should* have ditched it and bought another Honda when the Transmission of Death episode started. Ah well. Just another datapoint in the Saga of 20-20 Hindsight.

    December 5, 2001

    Argh! The Windows machine (aka Sue's computer) is down again - won't boot. This happens every time I try to put two hard drives in that box. Maybe the motherboard's befargled, or the power supply can't cope with two drives? Gotta get her a new machine one of these days.

    Another argh! Looks like the bank didn't pay our property taxes before they refunded the escrow account. Ah, the loose ends of getting free of a mortgage :-). Oh, and the deed still hasn't been handed over.

    Capsule move reviews: Shrek is a screaming riot. See it many times! Monsters, Inc. is great fun also. I just don't get the furor over Harry Potter.

    It bears repeating, as it's just a couple weeks away...

    Ash nazg durbatuluk,
    ash nazg gimbatul,
    ash nazg thrakatuluk,
    agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

    December 3, 2001

    PHEW! It was a load of work, but we've got new carpeting in the living room and master bedroom, and all the furniture moved back in. So now, in the midst of the ongoing chaos of the Family Room Renovation that Ate My Life, we have two (count 'em!) rooms that are neat, clean, and orderly. Now I have to finish pulling phone, coax and CAT5 wiring in the family room, and pull a big bundle of the stuff up into the center of the attic for future distribution to the bedrooms. Once that's done I can insulate and sheetrock the family room.

    November 24, 2001

    We got home from Sue's folks', and waiting in the mailbox was our original mortgage note, with PAID AND CANCELLED 11/01/01 stamped on it. Blessed be!

    November 17, 2001

    (* Que Dennis, the constitutional peasant *) "I'm 37! I'm not old!"

    Yes, I'll admit it. Today is my birthday. Sigh.

    November 14, 2001

    Laura is 5 today. Happy Birthday, Scooter!

    The family room windows are in. I'm waiting for it to dry out a hair before I prime the trim and trim the windows. Once that's done I can put up siding. The interior's pretty much stripped and ready for the new subfloor and electrical wiring to go in. This is cool. I might actually get most of it done by Christmas.

    October 26, 2001

    A minor facelift. The Daily Scotsman now has a journal page, where old ruminations will accumulate, so that everyone can ignore them in a more convenient matter.

    A gripe, related to below. The mortgage company won't send me a payoff statement and won't return calls/correspondence. What is *with* these guys?

    Some photos are now up of the Great Family Room Renovation Millstone-around-my-neck, among other things. You'll get to see such delights as the electric cat and the archeological dig that was necessary to find the studs. There's also a "teaser" of the splendid view from the vacation house, and some seriously massive naval hardware. Head thee to the Photos page.

    October 4, 2001

    Finally, some *good* news: the balance on our mortgage is down under $30.00! As of 11/1/2001 we will own our house!

    Home improvement projects are kicking up their heels again as well. This weekend I'm cutting a doorway between the living room and family room and removing the old living room window. Sue's declared that she expects new carpet in the living room for Christmas this year, and Mom and Dad are likely coming south for Thanksgiving, so some tangible time constraints have now been imposed. It's amazing what motivators panic and spousal ire are!

    October 3, 2001

    Note to self:

    NEVER NEVER NEVER ever again buy a car with drum brakes! And look into replacing the drums on the cars you *do* have with discs. Oh, the hassle; oh the agony! I did the brakes on the Honda yesterday. The fronts took about 20 minutes for both sides. The rears took literally hours, a good bit of which time was spent sifting thru the mulch next to the carport looking for springs and such that went sailing when the whole apparatus violently disassembled itself while I was trying to pull of the return spring. Grr!

    July 30, 2001

    Another month or two, another update or two... The station wagon should get out of hospital this week, with a new transmission and an all-new air conditioning system (everything but the evaporator), to the tune of about $3,000.00. OUCH! Sue says I'd better never sell this car; we'll have to keep it forever to make it worth the repair cost.

    Today's key words: "vynyl floor tiles". They install in an indecent hurry, look pretty darned good, and are easier to fix than sheet vynyl if they get torn up. Self-stick vynyl baseboard molding is also quick and handy for closets and the like where appearance isn't a high priority.

    July 23, 2001

    Coolness is! The 19" monitor (a Hitachi 751 gotten for $200 from EBAY) has arrived and is now in place. Not a moment too soon, as the loaner 17" from work has started flickering and such. It's so nice to have a big, legible display! Now where'd I put that flight sim.... ?

    May 26, 2001

    I've gotta get some sleep! Anyhow, I've now got the home office half-redone; my linux box is loving life, living in its own sporty oak computer desk, complete with keyboard tray wide enough to accomodate keyboard, mouse, throttle and joystick, all at a comfortable, ergonomically pleasing (read - no more wrist pain) height. Now I need to clean up the mess that's piled on the work table where the linux box *used* to live, so we can get to the win98 box again.

    Also in computing, the linux box is now up to a K6-2-500 with 256MB and 27GB of UW SCSI HD, running RedHat 7.1, and therein lies a tale, complete with tanked root-partition drives, RAID arrays and surplus drives from the office. At least it's back up again. Still to be done: a 19" monitor and a new CDRW to replace the !#%@#%$ Yamaha 4416 that tanked just a couple weeks after the warranty let go. There is a Plextor in our future!

    In other news, the a/c compressor in the wagon seized up on the way home from Ocala this afternoon. Oh joy. Right at the leading edge of summer and no cold air in the Mercury. And the Honda is having a/c problems as well. Isn't life grand (as in, that's about what it's gonna cost to have the wagon's a/c fixed).

    Apr 16, 2001

    He is risen!

    --'nuff said.

    Apr 12, 2001

    Lemon curry?

    Feb 20, 2001

    Ash nazg durbatuluk,
    ash nazg gimbatul,
    ash nazg thrakatuluk,
    agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

    The trailer looked good, but we're trying not to get our hopes up. Still, I can hardly *wait* to see Lord of The Rings.

    Jan 28, 2001

    Gotta gripe. I'm sure it's very nifty and very easy to manufacture cars with transverse engines; just hang all the accesories on and lower the whole unit into that itty bitty little engine bay at the factory. Quick, efficient, and looks cool in the brochures. But, have you ever tried to WORK on one of those compact installs? My 89 Sable is like a Chinese puzzle box! I changed the water pump yesterday, which was an hours-long exercise in "move this this This and THIS out of the way before ever getting to the pump"! Sheesh. And don't even get me *started* on how little room there is under the hood of a Honda Accord. I sometimes really miss my old clunker Fairmont with the inline-6. You could climb into the engine bay *with* the fool thing if you had to; it was SO easy to work on. Sigh. Gripe over. Thank you.

    Jan 25, 2001

    Brr! It's been way too cold in the mornings, especially since (ironically) an overheating car has got me back on the bicycle for my daily commute. At least it's a spiffy (do people still use that word?) new Trek 6000 mountain bike. And it's nice not to have to orbit the campus looking for parking.

    As for the website, the photos page is now up for your viewing [pleasure|interest|chagrin|disgruntlement]. I never did get to use the inlaws' digital camera last weekend, so I'll have to scan some existing photos, mostly for the Benefit of The Grandparents.


    Still to be done on the site:

    • linux, with particular emphasis on ThinkPads, sound and video
    • reordering and updating the music capsules
    • bicycling, with pointers to local clubs and events
    • obligatory biographical stuff

    Ah, the crisp clean smell of achievement! Oh, sorry, that was just the cinnamon rolls burning.

    )