Gone So Soon?

So yeah, I came back with a vengeance and then disappeared for a month again. It’s been a busy month though, lots of stuff happened. As I mentioned before, the kids and I have been running a D&D campaign with Foundry VTT in the Lost Mine of Phandelver, also helped by content and tools from dndbeyond.com. I haven’t done much on the radio, mostly because my tuner has been in MFJ‘s hands since April 1st and I haven’t received even a “we’ll look at it next week” message even though I’ve sent messages to them and been told those messages were “forwarded on to the atu repair technician.” Not filling me with warm fuzzies lemme tell ya. I also went through my paid time off at work and realized I had a lot of days that I was going to lose if I didn’t use them, so I went through my calendar and scheduled a bunch of days to take off under various categories (sick time, personal time, and vacation time) so that I wouldn’t lose a day. This means I’ve had some random Fridays and Mondays off, plus one week of having off Thursday through Monday (which nicely coincided with a camping trip with the scout troop) and one which now has me off Thursday through Tuesday (in part because I’m having a tooth extracted on Monday, which is the end of another saga of issues I’ve dealt with for a few months now and finally had enough and getting it taken care of, in part because my lovely wife of 20 years had enough of my crap and made a phone call). So at this moment, I’m sitting on the back porch in the light of a Tiki Torch with the Electric Light Orchestra asking “Do Ya” over the Echo Tap (and now Yes telling me they’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day, so satisfied, they’re on their way), an empty glass of whiskey, and the Chromebook typing away a recap of what’s been going on lately while the sun dips below the horizon and the stars come out to play. I may not have extravagant vacations planned, but these moments are worth enjoying.

Knee Deep in the Hoopla

“Don’t you remember?”

–Starship, “We Built This City”

Haven’t done much radio stuff in the last week or so, except for finally getting on the air with the group of locals I hear on 146.52 – one of them was demoing FT8 for another on 10m, and I replied. When he said on 2m, “man this guy is loud” I finally found my comfortable opening to key up and say, “I should be, I live two blocks away from you.” Laughs were had and I found a group who was quite welcoming to my presence, we all chatted for an hour or so before turning into pumpkins.

The other big thing I did was bit the bullet on a virtual table top license for Foundry, and started setting up the campaign I ran with the kids before using the Lost Mine of Phandelver module from the D&D starter set. Already I’m more comfortable with some of the things I’ll need to do as a DM, and the only reason we haven’t started playing yet is because there’s some areas I want to pre-stage before the kids might decide to go that way instead of towards the main storyline. Of course I could fix that by asking them if they’re sure that’s how they want to go, and if they say yes then I close the window and say “then you’ll have to wait until I finish setting it up, now get ready for bed.” 😀

You Can Tune A Piano

I mentioned elsewhere about problems I had with my antenna tuner. While nobody asked, I figured it’s good writing practice to sit down and tell the story. Also, then it’s preserved for hysterical reasons. There’s also the fact that this stems from buying a new house and setting up everything in the ham shack all over again, which is a story that might deserve to be told, but at least right now that’ll be for another day.

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Getting There, and What’s Up

I’m starting to get there with the site layout. Adjusted some things, I think I broke some things too, but it doesn’t look half bad. Except the black text in the top bar, I don’t think I like that. Maybe I’ll play with other themes and see if I find one I like soon. Meanwhile, back to the topic of “why are you reviving this”, some information on ideas I’ve got and whatnot. Strap in kids, it’s gonna get bumpy.

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Photos Are Coming! (And Other Stuffs)

Last night I started going through the myriad of photos and videos that have collected on my computer in the last… I’m not even sure how long.  Captioning, organizing, and getting ready to turn them loose via iPhoto2Gallery to get them all uploaded.  So hopefully I’ll have a new post here with links to all of it in the next week or so.  Yes, I said that before when I upgraded the laptop to 10.5, but I had other things to work on and didn’t get to it then.  Sosumi 😛

David is doing well.  He just started pulling himself up from just about laying down to a seated position, and he pretty much stays seated on his own (occasionally topples, but who doesn’t?)  He’s been standing as long as you support him, and smiling and laughing at a lot of things.  Occasionally you get him in the right mood, and you can keep a laugh going until he just about runs out of air :>  The other night he was sitting on the floor, and I laying next to him on my side; he grabbed my jeans and just about pulled himself up to standing, probably would’ve succeeded if the blanket he was standing on wasn’t slippery and his feet went out from under him.  Guess it’s getting near time to lower the mattress in his crib now too.

In other news, the renovations in my building at work have begun.  The library is now gutted, and there’s a few rooms elsewhere that have been stripped clean in preparation.  This summer’s going to be “fun” – probably a week or two of frantic running around, then quite a bit of time twiddling thumbs, and 2-3 spurts of constant work over a weekend to move things around in the server room since there’s some work being done there (finally, after 7 years, we might actually come out of this with a usable and well-designed space).

Less Wisdom

It’s been a while since I posted something, probably because this is the first time in a while that I’ve not only had interesting stuff to share, but actually time to sit down and share it. Most interesting is that I finally broke down and went to a dentist – and then an oral surgeon – about my teeth. I’ve had issues with them for a while, and have put it off entirely too long. Since the dentist I found is very nice (and very good), when I explained that I knew I’d done wrong things but wanted to make it better, he instead of berating me for what I did wrong sat down with me and outlined a course of action to a healthier mouth again. I was quite happy with this! First thing on the list was to get the wisdom teeth pulled, and one other molar that was pretty much shot. So that happened this past Friday, and I’ve been in and out of drug-induced hallucinogenic states since then. Today is actually the first day I didn’t wake up and take a Vicodin right away, which is good. But I’m still not quite on solid food yet, a big part of that may be less of a physical issue keeping me from it and more my own mind saying I’m not ready yet, even if my mouth is.

Also picked up a couple new toys over the weekend. Lowes was having some sales, and most importantly their deal of zero interest and zero payments for a year, if you bought something this weekend. So I researched and found that one of the lawn vacuum/chipper/shredder units they had was the one that I wanted, and we went and got it. Man does that thing work nice! Since last year I ended up doing a lot of extra work to get rid of the leaves, I’m looking forward to it this year. Plus the brush pile next to the house will be going away too, since I can chip up all the branches there and get rid of them. And last, we picked up a shed to put the vacuum, and the mower and other yard power tools into. This way they’re not taking up precious space in the garage, and need to be moved out of the way all the time. Since we had a perfect “dead spot” where I could put it – next to the walkway beside the house where the trash cans were sitting – it doesn’t even take up any space in the yard that we would’ve used differently. And it looks nice!

Last thing. I setup a web-based IRC system, which you can see here. IRC is like the predecessor of all instant messaging and chat programs, and yet is still in fairly wide use today in some circles. Now you can just go to this site to see how it works and connect to the IRC server that I run. Enjoy!

[At some point, I’ll probably come back and throw a lot of links in this post. Right now, I’m just tired, and wanted to get the words out.] [Edit 2007/09/06 – Hey, there’s a few links.]

Oh Well

Then I go and post nothing in May either.  Oh well, been busy lately.  Still haven’t had time to get the APRS antenna mounted, but now I’ve got a ladder sitting in the garage (on loan from my father) which I can use to get high enough on the house to mount it.  Think I’m just a 3/8″ hole saw away from finishing that project up, and having full use of the charcoal grill again without first having to turn off the APRS radio and move the magmount.  Speaking of the garage, I picked up some shelves on Friday evening and put them together in there, and got all the stuff that was littering the floor onto them.  Between that and some organization kits from there, all the yard tools are hung up nicely on the walls now, and I even made a spot for the lawn chairs so I’m not tripping over them either (nor are they falling over if I bump into them slightly).  Finally, for the first time in.. 5 years?.. I got all my tools organized and put away into the toolbox.  When we moved from Mays Landing to West Deptford, I never bothered to do it since they hadn’t moved around too much.  But when we moved to Ewing, they definitely got jostled and I just didn’t bother at all since I rarely used any of them.  Kinda hard to work on a car in a parking lot when your tools are on the second floor, and I didn’t have stuff around the house to fix either.  Now there’s a place for just about everything, and the shelves that were already in the garage are almost cleaned off.  Maybe tonight or one other night this week I’ll vacuum the junk off of them, and then I can start pulling them out to put down the second shelving unit we purchased as a workbench (instead of stacking the two halves on top of each other, they also suggest putting the units side by side as a workbench).  I’ll have to measure things out, the wood currently used as a top for the old shelves might make a good workbench top for the new ones so it’s sturdy and consistent across the two units.  After that, the pegboard on the back wall will probably come down, and either go back up with spacers or get replaced, as well as expanded.  Then a lot of the hand-type tools that are in the toolbox currently will go on there, and I’ll have more room without needing another toolbox yet.

The basement hasn’t had much done lately, though the oil tank is on end and ready to be cut up into pieces – both to get it up out of the basement and for easy disposal.  Quite a bit of stuff has collected down near the work bench though, and I really need to get down there soon and clean things up so there’s room to work again.  Stephanie wants me to make some benches to go in the dormers upstairs – one cedar lined, and one regular – and I’ve also got to fix up a couple of the dining room chairs.  Need to grab a couple large clamps for those, and though people have offered to loan them to me, I’ll want them around anyway, so I might as well buy them :>

Finally, in one of our last trips to Lowes, I realized that copper has come down in price considerably.  I think I paid around $79 for 250′ of 14/2 wire, and $119 for 12/2.  Now 14/2 was around $49, and 12/2 was $79.  A 10′ length of 1/2″ pipe was $10 and change, and the best part was a 1000′ spool of CAT5 cable for $80.  The last of that list came home with me, so once the NJ tax return comes through I’m going to pick up the patch panel, switch and the last of the stuff needed to do the home network and new phone wiring so I can get started on that.  Since the office (2 drops) and shack are the most “important” ones, followed by the living room, I can probably do all of that in one weekend, maybe even one day.  The two upstairs drops will likely be the hardest, but they’re also the least important, so whenever they eventually happen is good enough.  Probably not until we rip the rooms apart to insulate them.


Since it’s been a few days since the last post, a quick re-cap of what’s gone on since then.  We fired up the new gas grill, and cooked a rotisserie chicken on it the other night.  As Stephanie said, “I’ll never again pick up one at the store if I can cook it at home just as easily (and it’s even better tasting).”  We love it.  Well, Stephanie loves it.  I still like my charcoal and hardwoods :>

We got office furniture, and got it assembled.  I like my new desk – now I need a nice comfy chair to put there.  But I need a nice comfy chair for the shack too, so I’ll be in need of a couple chairs.  Got blinds hung in the master bedroom, and Stephanie got the room painted (just a few touch ups here and there to do).  Soon we can move in the dressers and have a fully functional bedroom again.  I’m most concerned about moving the bed back against the wall; twice now I’ve lost pillows overboard since there’s no headboard either.

Haven’t done anything with the antenna at home yet, still waiting on Leon to have free time enough to swing by and drop it off.  But he’s been pretty busy lately, and I also haven’t bugged him about it – when he’s got the time, I’ll worry about it.  Not going to be a pest.

As for why it’s been a little while since posting, my web provider (Dreamhost) has had one problem after another for just about the whole weekend.  File servers crashing, network switches melting.. they’ve had a rough few days.  So I’ve had some trouble getting on here to post things (and anyone who might be reading this has had trouble getting on to read it too).  I’m also having some issues with DNS – apparently, since my home computer was formerly the authoritative name server for two domains, its A record has been (or is being) cached by some of the root nameservers.  So although I changed its IP with Dreamhost’s DNS editor, and it propagated out just fine for a couple days, it’s now being overridden by other root servers.  Hopefully that’ll either sort itself out after the second domain is transferred, or Dreamhost can help me sort it out with the roots.  In the mean time, I’m starting to learn my home IP address, ’cause anything I want to do to connect there I need to use it.

Last, but not least, I’ve been away from Second Life for quite a while now.  I hop on now and then and try to spend a few minutes catching up with things that have happened, but I’ve found it difficult to get on after work like I used to (and while at work, I’ve actually had work to do).  A lot of things have changed with the university where I work there, and a couple friends of mine have left the university due to some of those changes.  I hope to see them around somewhere, even if they come and hang out in the lounge (formerly the lobby) like how I met them.  But I guess time will tell – as well will it tell if I can even get back in there and back to what I was doing, or if I too will have to depart the university and just visit on occasion.

What’s New in the World This Week

I really miss Dennis Miller’s HBO show…

Anyway, a quick flashback to this past week. I was off of work the whole week, and had no internet access for most of it. Been away from Second Life for awhile, and I do miss it, but I’ve got so much other stuff to worry about right now that it’s not been much of a priority. We got most of our stuff packed, and got the living room in the house finished paint-wise. Movers came an hour early on Thursday, and we got everything moved in 6 hours – well, almost everything. Still some dishes and stuff in the kitchen at the apartment that needed to move over by hand, a small pile of stuff in the corner where the radio was sitting before (a lot of it stuff for the truck, so that’ll go right in the garage) and the shelves in the office are still full. One with computer stuff and one with Stephanie’s jams & jellies that the movers said they didn’t want to move because of possible breakage and such. So we’ll collect those things in the next week or so, bring it all to the house, and then the apartment will just need a cleaning before we hand in the keys.

On the homefront, the living room is now mostly unpacked and ready – TV & entertainment center hooked up (and Comcast came out on Friday to setup the cable connection, which is working okay – new DVR and I’m not thrilled with it, there’s a couple bugs, but they’re mostly minor), couches where we want them for the most part, blinds were hung up… just a few boxes here and there left to either unpack or repack for storage. The shack is also mostly done, with only a couple boxes of books and assorted stuff that was on the desk before and the blinds hung in there as well. I might just finish that up tonight depending on what else goes on. The kitchen & dining room are still a bit of a mess, though the table is setup now with chairs around it – part of the problem is that the painting needs to be finished before we can put stuff up on the walls, so that stuff and the stuff that would be in it has no place to go for a bit.  As for the office, we won’t talk about that – it’s hard to see the floor right now, let alone anything else in there that isn’t on the top layer of boxes.

The bedroom is mostly setup, though again we didn’t want to put a lot of things there due to needing to paint still.  Our bed and nightstands are in the room (one because we need to sleep, and the others because we need places to put alarm clocks).  Dressers are still in the spare room upstairs, though we discovered that we might not need new ones due to the A-frame ceiling – looks like ours might just fit on their own anyway.  Our queen size box spring was another story – that is currently in the office because it wouldn’t make it up the stairs at all (and not for a lack of the movers’ trying to make it fit).  We ended up ordering, and already having delivered, a split queen box which fit up the stairs nicely and gets our bed up off the floor where it sat Thursday and Friday nights.  Once the bedroom is painted, then I’ll get the blinds in there as well (right now there’s nothing, but we can work around that with clever use of towels and sheets :> ) and we can move the dressers into place.

Basement doesn’t have much to go in it, just storage stuff.  We need some more storage shelves like we have at the apartment, and will be getting some as time passes.  We had ordered a chest freezer, and when they came to deliver it we discovered that the freezer at its smallest (removing the door and hinges) was still about 1″ too wide to fit in the basement stairwell.  So we returned it (no problems fortunately) and ordered an upright.  It’s actually larger capacity, yet smaller outer dimensions – with the door on, it should just fit, and with the door off it’ll have 2.5″ to make it.  Not a lot, but enough I hope.  At least this time the freezer should make it off the truck before they say “It won’t make it.”  Got a dehumidifier too, and that’s been running nonstop for a few days.  Basement feels a lot drier now, and I think the A/C is working more easily too.  And while ordering our freezer, since we got one of those nice zero percent for 12 months (and no payments) deals from Lowes, we ordered our gas grill.  Both should be delivered on Thursday, since Stephanie has workshops to do this week.

Lastly, I got an offer of an antenna for the home station – same one I was looking at in HRO’s catalog.  So once the two of us can actually get together at some point, I should have an antenna for the shack.  Already bought the TV antenna mast to hold it up in the air too :>

I think that about covers things.  And I’m finally caught up on a week’s worth of emails too.

Second Life, First Post

So I’ve been playing in the game Second Life for a while now, and enjoying it a bit. First got interested because of the TWiT podcast when it was mentioned there, and I thought a 3D realm where you could build stuff and play around seemed interesting. I was right, it can be a lot of fun. As Stephanie pointed out, my last job was at a university, my current job is at a university.. and what do I do in SL? Find the largest university in the game and hang out there. And end up getting a job there as an instructor. Kinda funny actually.

I hang out with quite a few folks there, including Leigh (Keith doesn’t stop by because he doesn’t like what it does to his computer, namely makes it slow), and many I know only by their SL usernames. Asaria, Ipenda, Molten, Theodora, Felanis, Dragon, First, Rini, Jace, Norton, Charlie, Gizmo, Kerhop… the list goes on and on, and if you’re not on that one don’t be offended – it’s late, I’m tired, and this is a flashback :>

Anyway, I’ve been taking snapshots of things going on in SL for a bit now, and would like to share some of them with you. I was about to post them here, when I realized that they’re all bitmap images, and average 1.3MB each. So I thought, there has to be a good way to change them all at once, and I realized there is.. it’s called the gallery that I already setup. So once I get that up and running completely, I’ll post a link to them instead. Yeah, not as cool as some of the others I know who post their pixtures right on their webpages, but it’s how I feel like doing it. So there. *pthbthbthbtht*

EDIT 2006/06/21 11:04EDT – Oh, and those of you whom I have links to, bonus points if you can explain to me how the whole linkback-pingback-trackback BS works.  Would be nice to reference each other, but I’m so stuck in “Web 1.0” that until recently I used Pine for email and tin for Usenet.  And yes, I *read* Usenet too.  That should tell you something :>