Monthly Archives: September 2010

First Time on Bike in a While

This afternoon, I needed to run over to CVS to pick up a prescription and a couple of other small things (one of which I just now realized I forgot).  Because it wasn’t too hot, nor too late, I decided that this would be a good opportunity to get onto my bike for the first time in way too long (probably 8 months to a year).

So I located the bike lock and my “sling” pack, filled my SIGG water bottle and went into the garage to pull down my bike (which is the only one hanging on the hooks).  As I was taking the bike down I noticed that both tires were flat, so before heading out I had to inflate them.  And, it wasn’t until I’d finished – or so I thought – with the first tire that I found the pressure recommendations.  Of course, the minimum was lower than what I’d guessed.  More for time than any other reason, I filled up to enough above the minimum.  Once I’d put away the pump (which lives in my car) I headed out.

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Update on RPG Notes

After some advise, and a very brief bit of poking around at Games Empire on Saturday, I decided to at least start (or play some more) with stuff I had on hand.  So, I worked out some of what I’d need using either 2nd or 3rd edition GURPS.  (I looked briefly through my 22 year old 3rd edition book, but discovered that its pages were falling out, so I reverted to my older – I think 2nd edition – books).

I’ve updated the page on my site with this detail at the bottom.  I still need to do the races for the cats and dogs.

And I still don’t know if there is any chance of this actually ever getting played but at least I’m having a bit of fun.

Once Again My High School Does Me Proud

In 2008 year, I posted (here) about Cibola High School choosing a high functioning autistic student as Homecoming King.  Now two years later they’ve repeated the feat, by electing a student with Downs Syndrome as Homecoming King.

The Albuquerque Journal has an article here (registration may be required) for more details.

Doing Some World Building (RPG)

Over the last few days, possibly under the influence of The Furies of Calderon and Jim Butcher’s Romanesque high fantasy world, I’ve been thinking about some RPG ideas I had back in college.  Today while waiting for some tests to finish, I committed my thoughts into slightly disorganized bits.

Back in college, I worked out the basic ideas here – sort of – with a friend as the setting for a customized game.  I have made some significant changes to the world of that game, primarily replacing the non-human inhabitants of a post-apocalypse earth with humans and other species that are related to our companions.  (In the original the inhabitants were basically chimpanzees and kangaroos).

I’ve got the notes posted as a “page” on my WordPress site at

Due to my current lack of regular players, or even regular games, I don’t know if this will ever be much more than what I’ve written.  But, I’m still thinking a bit more about it and how I might run it.  One big question would be what system to use?

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What I Just Sent to the SMOFs List

In response to a disscussion about D*C in Atlanta prompted by, but not directly related to,  an actor mentioning in an article that they were the most fan friendly con:

For what it is worth, my perception of D*C will always be flavored by a conversation (for lack of a better term) I had with one of the founders/big-wigs ten to fifteen years ago on rec.arts.sf.fandom, where I was basically told I was an idiot for concluding that it was a big pro-run show when my first exposure was very glossy flyers featuring the actors there, and that informed the reader that you buy “tickets” through “ticketmaster.”

Very likely this conversation occurred before I’d even come close to crossing the barrier into SMOFdom, and was still more-or-less a neo-fan.

News From Australia

This afternoon (Australia time – which was already hours ago as I type this at 9:15 PDT) , Aussicon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) closed.  Because we decided that buying a house was more important, we weren’t there even after 8 prior years of at least back of the brain planning.  But thanks to social networks and e-mail lists, I have picked up several pieces of news some of which is important to fen (SF Fans) – or at least to me.

First, at the close of the site selection voting, Chicago was awarded the right to hold the Worldcon in 2012.  So the 7oth World Science Fiction Convention will be Chicon 7, and will be held August 30 – September 3 (if I’m tracking the calendar correctly) 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago.  The guest of honor will include Mike Resnick (Author), Rowena Morrill (Artist), Peggy Rae Sapienza (fan), Jane Frank (Agent/Industry), and Story Musgrave (Astronaut). The toastmaster will be John Scalzi – who has already started on his job by announcing the guests of honor at the site selection business meeting in Melbourne Sunday morning.

Chicon already has their website up and running at  Membership can be purchased on the website.  Other information will be added as it becomes available and the webmaster has time to put it up (the current webmaster is also in Australia and is scheduled to remain in the Southern Hemisphere for a while)

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Greedy Corporations

Today we got The Kid a netbook so that he has a small computer for homework and to start going online and entering (with supervision) that world.

However, like most small laptops it comes with “Windows 7 Starter Edition.”  This is the most basic version of Windows 7, with the fewest features.  Now from what I’ve been able to determine most of the features between this level, and the next lowest level are ones that we really don’t need on a small laptop.  But – and I’m sure that the gnomes in Redmond did this just to frustrate people into buying the more expensive OS version – one of the features that they left out is desktop customization: you cannot change the background picture from the boring (and not that attractive) default.

After some brief discussion we decided to name the computer “K9” (having run out of spaceships and moved onto robots for at least some computers).  Following my tradition, I located a picture of K9 to use as the background but no matter what I tried (and I tried quite a few solutions offered on the Internet), nothing would permanently change the background.

As I’ve said, I’m sure that feature was left out more to encourage people to buy the upgrade then because it wasn’t needed.  And I’ll probably end up springing for the upgrade just so that I can fix this problem (at least for when I’m borrowing the computer).

I won’t be buying one for myself anytime soon.  If I had the money, I’d need to spend it on fixing up my Linux box first (see my earlier post today).

Future Computer Thoughts – Questions

My current linux box that, among other things, hosts (and as of yesterday its alias is probably dying.  At this moment I can no longer get graphics to work (which may be a KVM issue, but I have my doubts –  and haven’t tried a kvm port swap to see if it fixes the problem or not), and has some other issues.  It is a bit long in the tooth and I suspect that a rebuild could give me a lot more horsepower.

One thing I’m considering if I do rebuild it would be to build it differently – on the software side.  Instead of having one physical machine, I’d rebuild it into a fairly lightweight virtual machine host (using an free solution) that then supports separate virtual machines that would serve as the e-mail server – possibly migrating us back off of gmail if I can get our phone integration fixed so that it doesn’t kill the battery and still gives reasonable update frequency – and two web servers and probably a file server for things like home folders (which could also be the host).

However, I’m mostly unsure so far how to pull this off.  The biggest thing is that if I want separate external facing web servers, I need to somehow have separate external identities.  What I’m not sure is if there will be a way to configure a single NIC so that it will receive all of the traffic from multiple static IP addresses (I think I can get three more from my ISP without having to pay more), and then route them to the virtual NICs according to what the destination IP was.  I’m 99% sure that this should be something the virtual host can do – at least with an add-on.  But I would need to configure this.

So my questions for or requests for suggestions from my friends are:

  • How powerful of a computer should I have to do this?  Are 2 cores sufficient, or should I go for 4.
  • What would be the best Virtual Machine host – presumably running on Linux of some flavor – to use.
  • Any suggestions on how to best configure the sites.
  • Any other advice (up to and including “you are insane – just build a new linux box”).

Attitudes in the “Hipster” Church – and Mine

This month’s cover story in Christianity Today is on “Hipster Faith.”  (It is also available online).  When I read it yesterday, I was struck with one of the statements that it makes about the faith, theology and beliefs of the so-called Hipster Christians: “It’s a world where things like the Left Behind book and film series, Jesus fish bumper stickers, and door-to-door evangelism are relevant only as a source of irony or nostalgia.”

When I read that, I was struck with how similar some of that is to how I have often felt about the Church, especially the Evangelical part of the Church, even though I am at least a bit older than most of the identified individuals (the article mentions that in one group “Almost everyone in the audience was under 35”). Continue reading