Monthly Archives: August 2009

Not Quite What He Thinks

This morning after noting that the ant problem in our kitchen is getting worse (or not getting better) Derrick suggested that we call a terminator. Somehow I don’t think that Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Patrick or Summer Glau will be of any use in resolving our ant problem.

Realization about my math teachers

Yesterday, after thinking about Derrick’s first day in middle school (which wasn’t bad — his second day, however…), I started thinking about my own middle and high school days. During this, I came to a realization that was interesting now, but unnoticed at the time.

From sixth grade, through 12th grade, I had six different math teachers and five of them were Hispanic men. The one exception was my 10th grade geometry teacher, who was a white woman.

I also had at least one male Hispanic math professor in college, who happened to be the head of the department at UNM (or became head a few years later).
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Killed my brief hopes of SMOFCon

Because I cannot afford to take any extra vacation this year if I want to have enough to spend in Australia next year (the one downside of leaving my 15+ year job a year ago not related to the necessary relocation), I hadn’t been planing on going to SMOFCon this year. I would have liked to go, having found it enjoyable the two other times I’ve made it (out of the three times I’ve tried — I got snowed into Chicago for the KC SMOFCon a few years ago).

But when there was discussion about low airfares to SMOFCon on the smofcon list, I did a quick check to see what I could turn up that might let me get there before Saturday morning at least.

Alas, the last flight that Southwest has leaving on Friday departs about 4:30 so I’d probably have to leave work before 2:00 to safely make it through check in and (as kevin_standlee puts it) terroization. And their first flight on Saturday morning (conveniently a non-stop flight) doesn’t arrive until after 2:00. The flights on the airlines that Orbitz can find were worse (Orbitz suggested that I fly Delta through Atlanta — I’m not flying across the country and then half-way back, thank you) and more expensive.

With luck, my vacation budget for 2010-2011 will be a bit looser allowing me to go to SMOFCon wherever it ends up.

Busy Day of Honors on my friends list

As I’ve been spending more time than usual responding to postings today (one LJ posting and several Facebook wall posts) in honor of what I put my mother through 43 years ago today and have seen several other postings, I have now become aware that this day on the calendar is more than just a day in late August, often near Worldcon.

So, Happy Birthday to kevin_standlee who is one year older than me (unless he chooses to discount the year he missed his birthday on the way to Aussicon) and Happy Anniversary to billroper and daisy_knotwise; and, of course, anyone else I missed.

And also if I missed saying “Thank You” for any of the birthday greetings I’ve received, “Thank You.”

Mostly successful weekend

As weekends go, this one hasn’t been too bad. It has, however, been busier than maybe it should, but in some ways not as busy as I’d like. Yesterday was the real busy day, but today ended up being a bit busier than I’d originally planed.

Early last week I decided to quit putting some things off, and made eye doctor’s appointments for robot_grrl and me. After looking at the various places covered by my insurance, I picked one and made appointments for 11:30 and 12:30 yesterday. But when I made the appointments, I’d forgotten that I also had an 8:45 appointment to donate blood.

So, yesterday I got up first (rare for a Saturday) and got a good breakfast so that I could head for the donor center. My donation when quickly and easily — which is pretty normal for me, and I was home about the time they said I should be done. (OK, I probably left too soon, but sitting around eating too many of their snacks isn’t helping me any).

Once I got home, I did some messing around on my computer — some of which was mentioned or alluded to here and in the replies. But, before too long it was time to head to the eye doctors. We decided to head down together and I’d just wait even if it ended up being the full hour. It wasn’t.

Since I was there early and signed in, I was called back while Tara was still with the actual D.O. Unfortunately, except that it did save us $30.00, they weren’t able to get pictures of my retinas. But this did mean that they were had to dilate my pupils.

While I was getting my exam, and before and afterwards, Tara picked out new frames. I picked out mine quicker, after the main exam while waiting for my eyes to dilate. In the end we ended up with two eye exams, two new pairs of glasses (which we get in 7 to 10 days), including extra coatings on both, for less than what Tara paid the last time she got new glasses. Having a decent eye care plan from my employer does pay. (And yes, I do wish everyone had access to this kind of benefit, but I’m not sure I trust the current people who are wanting to provide it to do a good job — I’m saying no more)

After that, we grabbed some lunch. We ended up at a local pizza place, Brooklyn Boyz [sic]. Their pizza wasn’t bad, although it was clearly, and obviously, based on the kind of pizza one gets in Brooklyn, which is a bit different from what I’m used to with Chicago, Kansas City or Detroit based pizza varieties.

After lunch, we headed to Staples to get some school supplies for Derrick — who is, for better or for worse, starting at the public middle school next week.

Oddly one of the things that was on the list was 3 hole punched graph paper. When I tracked down what Staples had, all that matched their requirements was pads of “engineering” paper — which I’ve often had trouble finding outside of college bookstores.

I also found that they had a 8 gigabyte flash drive on sale for a reasonable price. So I picked it up, at least initially to perform an experiment, which I conduced once I got home.

The experiment was to see if I could install a bootable Linux system for my laptop onto the flash drive. I was successful, but it took two tries since the first time I goofed up and managed to leave me with a boot loader that could not load the native Windows system. However, I’m still having trouble getting it to successfully connect to the wireless network in the house (which may or may not be a key problem, but I’m 99% sure I’ve given it the right key)

Today our plan was to continue checking out churches. The church we checked out today was smaller than the one last week, but the pastor was much better. Last week, it was a mid-sized church but the interim pastor was very dull, and his message didn’t reach us at all. A full time pastor might be much better, but not knowing how long they will be with the interim made me want to keep looking.

This church had a very good service, but at least this week, there weren’t many people our ages. There was one young family with some toddlers, and two young marines (guessing by the hair cuts, the fact that the other reason I could think of for two young men sitting together like that being greatly reduced in a small Southern Baptist church, and the pastor’s acknowledgment of some members of the military in the congregation), but most of the rest of the congregation were older than Tara and I. There are people on vacation, so this may change.

It was also a bit different, since the pastor both lead the music part of the worship and then preached the message, rather than having separate people do the two roles. But given the size of the church, this isn’t too surprising.

After church, we decided to head to Souplantation to use an expiring coupon (even though we’d used a different expiring coupon last Sunday). But since we had time, we took our time finding our way there. As a result, we instead found an open house. However, once the realtor showed up, it turned out he didn’t have the correct code and had to go back to his office. So we ate lunch and came back. The house we looked out would have been just about perfect, if it had been a bit less than half the price. But then again, how often do you get a 50% discount on million dollar views. But the realtor talked to us and then agreed to show us a different house also in Carlsbad that was much less expensive (in our price range). It is about the same size as our rental, but is nearly new inside and would probably work at least for a few years. But without knowing if we’re going to have anything left after selling the Bartlett house early next month, we cannot even think of making an offer. But he has our information and will give us some ideas.

I’ll also add that part of me is thinking that I might prefer to move to someplace closer to work (Rancho Bernado would be good, but there may be some other parts of San Diego that would work well too), and there is a slight consideration that my niece MIGHT choose to go to San Diego State next year (I think the University of New Mexico Lobo in me could forgive her for becoming a San Diego State Aztec — a BYU cougar or a New Mexico State Aggie might be different), and it might be nice if we had some place where she could stay. If we could save her, or my brother, money on her schooling by giving her housing in exchange for some help around the house, it might not hurt anyone.

While, its been a bit of a busy weekend, and I should probably see if the rest of the family needs me for anything.

Upgrade Woes

On Thursday, I finally got my Linux box upgraded to a current version of the openSUSE distribution — after several failures over the last year and a half or so.

But, I’ve got a couple of things that aren’t or may not be working the way they were before (and I haven’t checked everything — like the Tomcat stuff)

First, I’ve been getting e-mails off of many of my cron jobs, but not the ones I’d expect. I’ve been getting delivery failures. I hope I’ve fixed that by running the mail configuration program, but we’ll see.

Second, I just discovered that my backup program has failed. A few years ago after having problems with tar not actually backing up everything (fortunately not discovered when something was lost), I switched to using dar. But openSUSE no longer ships with dar. So I’ve got to find another way to do the backups.

And dar was really nice, it could do incremental backups, so I only had to do a full back up once a week and could still restore to a point within the last 24 hours in most cases.

Oh well. This is Linux, so the problem isn’t just solvable, its probably already been solved. I just have to find the solution and make it work for me.

Failed World Building or Failed World Building

When I had time by myself, mostly while wandering through the Underground City (Rèso) in Montreal, I spent some time thinking about creating a SF world that would have a nearly truly underground city as the major population center. However, after I thought some more, I’m not sure if I have a good one or not.

On the other hand, I suspect that I have something that were I so motiviated, I could use as the setting for a story or game.

World, Background, etc.

Light Rail Realization

The other day (probably yesterday, but it might have been Wednesday) while waiting for the shuttle to take me to the commuter train, I realized some interesting facts about my personal ridership on light rail or metro systems (not counting commuter, intracity and sight seeing trains):

I’ve ridden on light rail in every country I’ve ever been in, except Mexico and India.

I’ve ridden on exactly two systems in every country but the US, Mexico and India:
Japan: Sapporo Subway, Osaka Subway.
Australia: Melbourne Trams and Sydney Monorail
UK: Glasgow “low level” trains, London Underground (“Tube”)
Canada: Toronto subway, Montreal Metro

In the US I’ve ridden quite a few more:
Chicago CTA, Seattle Monorail*, Atlanta Marta, San Diego Trolley, Philadelphia Subway, Disney World Monorail*, NCTD Sprinter (San Diego County), Disneyland Monorail*

* Indicates systems that are more tourist attractions or theme park rides than practical transportation, although all 3 do work to get someone from place to place, and I’ve used all 3 as such.

For what it is worth, I’ve also ridden on some “heavy” rails:
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (twice), Durango and Silverton Scenic Railroad, Chicago Metra, Amtrak (Southwest Chief, Pacific Surfliner), NCTD Coaster (San Diego County)

If my current travel crystal ball holds, I’ll probably not get any more light rail systems for the next few years: next year I’ll just be repeating systems in Australia, I don’t expect to use light rail in Reno, Chicago would be a repeat, as would either Glasgow or The Docklands, and I don’t think San Antonio has light rail.

Of course, if Japan wins Worldcon for 2017 and we can somehow afford to go, that would likely add some Japan systems to my log. An unexpected business trip could also add systems depending on where I were to end up. But I’m not expecting any at least not in my current position.

Things I probably won’t ever get to do at a Worldcon

1: Win a Hugo.

At this point in my life, the only Hugo categories I ever expect to be eligible for are “Fan Writer” and “Fan Artists,” and I’m positive that there are many more deserving people in each of those categories, all of whom are better know in those ways than I am.

2: Be a Guest of Honor

Similarly, I don’t see a Worldcon honoring someone whose main contribution to fandom is helping run regional cons, or even helping with Worldcon.

3: Be chair

OK, this is orders of magnitude more likely than the first two. But at this point, I cannot see any combination of bid location and local committee that I’d want to head up to end up running a Worldcon.

But when all is said and done, I should and likely will be perfectly happy helping out on many, but not all, Worldcons at least once I am sure I’ve found my niche — and I’m seriously thinking that I may have found it, or at least one likely one.

Final Anticapation/Montreal report

When I last left you, I needed to head back to the Palis. After more than 3 days, I’ve forgotten much of the detail of the earlier part of that evening. So I’ll just jump in where I start having clear memories.

August 7