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Friday, December 31, 2004

December 31, 2004

2004, The Year In Review

Well, I'm just going to leave this a bit brief and highlight some of the things which took place during the year 2004:

  • January : One-Act was once again successful at the Sub-Section Competition
  • February : Matt took a new job doing (of all things) writing software and network administration stuff
  • March : Matt cut back from the Subway thing (and later quit outright in April)
  • April : Matt & Beth found a house they were interested in buying
  • May : Matt started working on a major rewrite of an existing program at work; Beth started her painting job for the summer
  • June : Matt & Beth took a brief vacation in the cities for a few days; Les Miserables was seen
  • July : Matt & Beth moved into their new abode and out of the apartment-style life; Felix (the second cat) entered our lives
  • August : Beth goes back to school; we took a weekend trip to Beth's parents' place
  • September : Matt found out he would not be doing the Three-Act (major) show in Renville due to budget concerns
  • October : Beth & Matt became aunt & uncle for the first time
  • November : We began the bathroom remodel project; Matt prepared at work for the first release of the project started in May
  • December : Matt & Beth took a weekend vacation to the cities and saw 'A Christmas Carol' at the Guthrie in Minneapolis; Christmas

2004 brought many other things, both happy and sad, which aren't mentioned here. Overall, though, it was a good year and hopefully is a sign of things to come in the future. Enjoy the forthcoming year of the rooster (2005)!

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

Thursday, December 30, 2004

December 30, 2004

Eesh! December in Review, I guess!

Well, the month of December has come and gone...with little time to spare for writing. smile In general as an overview:

  • One-Act started and was cast;
  • Christmas celebrations came and went;
  • Spare time was not found in copious amounts. smile

Most spare time between December 1-18 was spent meddling with the bathroom project. For the most part, it has gone well...but is still not complete. When it became somewhat obvious that the project would not be done by the 18th, the plan changed somewhat significantly to allow for fixing everything and doing it all in one shot. The old closet door has been re-framed and covered and new switches and some new electrical work had been in place before the 18th...and for the Christmas celebration held here it looked alright (at least everything worked).

After the 18th (and pretty much through the end of the month), things get so crazy due to travels and work, etc., so not much (yet much) happened during that time.

Christmas this year was another "good one" if you will. We were able to see quite a few people (through the month), and they were all doing well...which is always a Good Thing.

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

Sunday, November 28, 2004

November 28, 2004

Happy Post-Thanksgiving!

Well, it's a little belated, but hopefully your holiday was a warm and festive one. smile

One-Act Forthcoming

It seems weird that it's already the end of November...and that in mere weeks now I'll be holding auditions for One-Act again. I've got my selection narrowed down, but I haven't made a final decision at this time. I need to order (and peruse) some more scripts first before I make that decision.

Perhaps tonight I'll take a little time and work on rolling over last year's One-Act Web and starting a new one. If not, my goal for that is certainly some time this week, for a number of reasons which I won't mention right now.

Election Results

As always (in recent times), it seems as though election outcomes include some interesting and unique results among the bunch, and this year was no exception. I stayed up until about 1:30am on Wednesday (November 3) to watch returns; however, the more important and interesting data came later the next day and in the week following the election.

Minnesota has (I'm not sure how many other states also employ this technology, but I'm sure there are many) an online databank of returns and a simple query to retrieve data as narrow as by township or wide as to include the entire state. Since we've recently moved, I found it particularly interesting to do some simple analysis on the local data, just to get a feel for the political atmosphere (post-election). Things like that are often interesting to me. smile

But anyway, it was another election... smile

Snow!

Yes, it's true. We finally got the first snowfall of the season to stick around for a few days. It began Friday evening (November 26) and probably snowed around 1/2-3/4" or so. Along with it came a little bit of sleet and ice from the wet roadways, but it wasn't too bad. As of the time I write this, there's probably on average only 1/4" or less remaining, but it's good to see a little of the white stuff seeing as how it is late November.

Home Improvement

Well, it's true. The [bathroom] project has officially begun (and at this point in time has hit the point of no return). As we were gone for Thanksiving on Thursday, we returned Friday and had some other plans, so that really left Saturday (November 27) to start the project. It started out grand, first off with sealing off as much of the affected area with painter's plastic (even went so far as to use two layers with airspace between). Then we prepared the shop vac and sawzall for use in the sealed area and put on the 'safety gear' (namely dust masks). Before we began, I made sure to kick off the power ( IDEA! Safety Tip: ALWAYS turn off the power to an area where you're cutting through a wall -- see note in three paragraphs IDEA! ) to the area affected by the cut. After returning to the cocoon, I had Beth ready the shop vac, and I prepared to make the first plunge cut into the wall with the saw.

Things went great -- for the first 20 seconds or so. Then I noticed that the blade just wasn't cutting through anymore. Before it got to this point, however, it had made a full plunge cut through both sides of the wall (the desired effect). I removed the blade from the wall to notice that it had been completely dulled by the [presumably] very gritty plaster. This surprised me quite a bit -- they were new blades and made for this sort of activity. I tried another (good thing I bought the five-pack) and had the same results. This was disheartening, as it meant that what had been ideally the way to remove the wall (in larger pieces) was not going to be possible. Many hammer swings were to be required now, causing much more dust discharge and other unpleasantness.

So I put down the saw and took out the hammer. With a good swing, you can begin to make a hell of a hole from which to start. I also at this time noticed how rocky the plaster wall had been (moreso than other plaster walls I'd seen and worked near in the past)...which made the blade dulling not as surprising to me. Anyway, I also noticed another very curious thing -- one side of the wall wasn't lath & plaster proper. Upon making a larger hole, I also discovered that one side of the wall had been done in the typical way, and the other side of the wall had been done with fiberboard backing and a 3/8" plaster coating. This made my life happier, as it meant taking at least one side of the wall out would be a hell of a lot easier (although not possible with the saw). At that time I put Beth to work on the traditional plaster side, and I went to work with a prybar on the fiberboard side.

I made much quicker progress than she (for the obvious reason), but I came to realize shortly after I'd removed about 2/3 of the inside wall (the fiberboard/closet side) ( IDEA! ) that I'd severed a pretty substantial electrical cable in the process of cutting! Now, what's more interesting about this is that I had an idea where the wires should be, but as I wasn't completely sure, I still killed the power to the area. VERY FORTUNATELY SO! The wire I'd cut happens to be the feed for the living room area, so without it in working order, I had no choice but to fix it right on the spot. There happened to be enough slack in the wire that splicing it wasn't a problem with the proper tools (that whole section of wire will be replaced anyway when the project is completed, so it wasn't a complete loss and is therefore 'temporarily' (read: don't do this and pretend it's fixed for good at home) fixed. It'd have been a Bad Situation had I not made sure the power was off to that area. So, safety lecture ( IDEA! ) over. smile

Once we had made enough of a mess, we decided to call it a night. About half of the bathroom (lath/plaster) wall had been removed, and 3/4 of two closet walls had been removed (we have to (well, it's much easier to) gut the entire inside of the closet due to plumbing and new electrical issues). So, we cleaned up as best we could, put some plastic over the hole (so as to prevent the cats from getting into the rubble pile in what used to be the closet), and called it a night. It was a bit weird to be able to look into what's now our office area from the bathroom, but cool nonetheless since progress was being made.

So, we began again this afternoon (Sunday) working on the remainder. Again, we sealed up the area to prevent excessive plaster dust from being strewn about the house. After getting that taken care of, we cleaned up the rubble pile from inside the closet and started in again on removing the wall. Beth made substantial progress on the lath/plaster side, and I also made progress (albeit a bit slower) in the closet area. I successfully have removed two of the four walls in the closet, and about 2/3 of the ceiling of the closet has also been removed (this is due to electrical and texture differences between the ceilings). After cleaning up the closet again and helping Beth remove the remaining plaster, I took to work on removing the lath from the studs (note that we're saving the studs for use in sealing up the closet door later, so it wasn't an option to just hack away with the sawzall -- ahh, frugality. smile ). After all that was complete, I took the saw and cut the nails holding the studs into place, therefore allowing them to trivially fall out of the way. At this point in time, we've accumulated enough demolition refuse that our containers have been filled to capacity. More demolition is not a good idea now until we empty them, so we took time to clean up stuff again with the shop vac and swiffer. We have no need to cover anything with plastic tonight, but we can now without contortion walk through the closet wall...which is a Good Thing.

So, the goal for the remainder of this week is to go to the landfill (to get rid of what we've got), finish the demolition work (which should only take a few hours), and make some measurements so new materials can be ordered and installed this weekend/early next week. Since we're going to be replacing all of the plaster with drywall, I will have to buy two different thicknesses of the material to accomplish the project. This is due to the fact that two sections of the new construction (one wall and the ceiling) will have to match the existing plaster thickness, and the remainder can be a standard thickness I deem necessary. Also this week it would be nice to have a good idea of exact sizes for the new vanity and all its trimmings. So this next week is primarily finishing this weekend's work, preparing for installation, and possibly doing the wiring.

Hopefully then this weekend I can essentially "build" the new wall (fill in the old closet door) and get the drywall work complete (or at least started). Then the following week I can prepare for cabinet/sink installations and plumbing. Plumbing is one of those projects that, while it really won't take that long to do the bathroom stuff necessary, it's a good time to at least properly begin to fid the rest of the plumbing spiderweb. Once (and as) that's complete, it's merely painting and the finishing work (fortunately almost all of the trim work came out nicely and can be reused -- what didn't come out as nice will be alright, since it won't have to be replaced anyway). If all goes well, the goal is to be more or less complete with the majority of it by December 18. Whether or not the floor will be complete is something else at this point in time, but here again, we'll see what happens.

We've been taking some pictures as we go along with this process; hopefully I'll get a chance to post them sometime this winter (after the project is complete).

That's all Fer Now...

...so until next time (hopefully not another month again)...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

Saturday, October 30, 2004

October 30, 2004

Happy Pre-Halloween (or something like that)

As I'm sure I'll not really have anything to write about tomorrow, I'll say it now -- Happy Halloween!

Sadly, due to cloud cover, we weren't able to see the recent lunar eclipse on Wednesday. For that matter, the weather hasn't let up much either (it's still been fairly wet)... But, there is a fairly full moon this week according to my calendar...so I guess Halloween has that going for it. smile

Weekend Project

Since it's not overly nice being outside today (about 39F, overcast, misty & rainy), I believe I'm going to attempt tackling a few projects this weekend. One of which is the replacement of some more light switches and receptacles. Fortunately, that's a project which is fairly straightforward, helped by my neat wire tracker (so I know which breaker to turn off without question). Chances are, that'll be a project I handle today.

Another project I'd like to start or continue is the removal of the cistern fill pipe or removal of the old outside faucet water line. The cistern fill pipe hasn't been used for a long time, and the entry points to the house have been sealed off with concrete for some time. All traces of it outside are gone, and for that matter, the only trace of it inside (aside from the room in the basement) is the fill pipe. This is a sawzall project and will undoubtedly be done in small pieces. It just happens that one of those pieces is somewhat in my way related to the bathroom project in particular, so I'd like to get that section removed soon. The removal of more copper water line (for the old covered up outside water faucet) is really straightforward -- only a pipe cutter needed. I probably won't get that completed (as best I can anyway) until after the fill pipe has been completely removed, though.

The Forthcoming Election

Well, in approximately 80 hours from now, we'll begin to have an idea of what the election results will be. I don't use this medium (or really any medium) to discuss my political or religious views (and this is no exception), but I have an interesting bit of insight into the human psyche to share. Now, for some background -- in my day-to-day operations, I run into and have the opportunity to listen in and/or participate in several small discussions with a variety of people with varying views on a many subjects. Obviously with the upcoming election the talk has been primarily political in nature.

Recently I was involved in a quite laid-back discussion of the above nature. Now, I won't mention names or affiliations, because this story isn't about that part at all. An individual candidly made a comment akin to 'I'm going to vote for candidate L, because I believe in candidate S's views but I really don't want candidate Q to win the election!'

Now, to each their own is my own personal thought when it generally comes to comments like this, but this particular comment struck me as somewhat disturbing. I'm not stating that any particular party would push this view or encourage this behavior -- BUT it seems like a giant lie to me. A lie not only to your own beliefs, but also to yourself and to the entire process in general. This leads to the entire 'electoral vote' issue -- the thought that one's vote doesn't count at all when it comes to choosing a candidate, but can count when selecting a candidate that will change the odds enough to push a particular 'mainstream' (if you will) candidate out of the race when it comes to electoral votes.

I obviously disagree with this maneuver, and it's my hope that this particular individual doesn't choose this route when entering the polling place. But it really says something (to me) about the system and the election in general when an individual makes a statement which places election importance essentially no more important than a $1.00 game of foosball or air hockey -- where cheap moves at the right time can mean the difference of the game.

Anyway, enough of the soapbox. I understand the purpose of the electoral college, but I also personally believe that it takes away from the idea that each and every vote counts. And that's another topic for another election year. smile

In the time since I've been able to vote, I have only missed a few primary elections. People, go vote -- and vote for the candidates with whom you agree -- no matter what that vote may be.

I'll leave it at this and end this portion of the post -- May God Bless America.

That's about it...

...for now, so I think I'll go do something productive now. smile

Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

Sunday, October 24, 2004

October 24, 2004

Yikes! Over a Month!

Well, I've managed to get really behind in these posts over the last...umm...MONTH. Much has happened in the last month, and time really hasn't been on my side. Although, I will mention that things are going well in general.

It's been rainy!

One thing I can say about the last month without question is that it's been quite wet -- wet enough to cause a headache for everyone I can think of in the area. For starters, while the soybeans and corn are ready for harvest (and in some instances much past ready), there are many, many acres which can't ben touched due to the super-saturated soil conditions. In fact, there's still water standing in some places around here. Of course, just when it starts to dry out, we get hit with another inch of rain or so. In many instances, there are fields which have large sections of un-harvested crops, and in others entire fields haven't been touched at all. For the worst case scenario, there are some who are just going to have to wait until after a hard frost in order to even reach the lower spots.

Such is the case in the land around our property -- it's just plain wet. With that said, it's not looking too promising for me to obtain some dirt from our little section of soybeans (at least prior to hard ground frost) in order to do some backfilling around the backyard and house. The plan was initially to (after the beans had been taken out) to go get a couple dozen cubic feet of dirt or better and do some backfilling...and get that all done before the ground froze. At the rate it's going, that's not going to be possible. While it's not that big a deal, it is a bit of a pain in my ass... smile

But, related to the abundant amount of water around as of late, we did have some basement 'issues' (not really a problem) after one particularly heavy week of rain (the week-long total I guesstimate to be around 7 inches). The ground is so saturated that we had small amounts of water coming into the basement not through the walls, but through a few of the cracks in the floor. The water was never a major problem (meaning that it never covered the whole floor and was never more than 1/16-1/8" deep), but it was still there nonetheless. It just meant lots of dehumidification, fans, and shop-vac work. The cats were probably most put out by the water, as their litter box was in one of the affected areas.

Fall Preparations

Hopefully this week it'll dry out a little bit and I'll have a chance to do some last yard work. I want to run over the lawn a last time to mulch up some of the leaves on the ground and also just trim up the lawn around the house. It'll also allow me to get the lawnmowers warmed up so I can then change the oil in them prior to storage this winter. At that time I'll do the last of the tool shed organization. I've put the storm windows back on the house and that's helped for the heat retention...which is important now that the furnace has been running (ahh, tis the season).

Far as the garage goes, I've got most things set in place. There's not a whole lot of room in there, so it's not a huge collector of junk!

Story of The Tubes!

Well, within about two weeks of the last post (in the first week of October), I drew out the plan and determined how much conduit I was going to need for the Satellite Project. Now, as a quick recap -- at the time I did this we only had one satellite dish on the garage -- for the Internet connection. This goes to the backside of the house and more or less directly into our office (where it's needed). The soon-to-be-ordered satellite for TV was also to be placed on the garage, but its point of entry to the house is in a different spot, on a different face. This meant that two runs of conduit had to be made, both originating from the same spot.

Well, we took the better part of a Saturday midday and did lots of digging, cleaning, cutting, and gluing. We now have all the capabilities for underground cable runs. smile The Internet one we were able to do as we went, but the TV one was only in preparation for the next week. Anyway, it all went well and it finally got that Internet cable off the ground where it was liable to get either cut, stretched, or have something else odd happen to it eventually.

It also happens to look a hell of a lot better than random cable running across the ground, and it allowed us to do the satellite TV installation (at least the outdoor portion) quite quickly and without issue.

Speaking of TV, it's been one of those things which has been nice to have back in place. While the cable run to our bedroom upstairs was a little less than, umm, trivial (as were the ones downstairs), it went quite well and has been working (which is the important part). I haven't missed the TV stuff much...and in some cases (e.g. the forthcoming election and therefore all the political ads (mini-rant: I know who I'm voting for -- let it be!)) it's been a Bad Thing...but overall it's good to have the vegetative thing back in place.

We're not in Kansas anymore!

One of the reasons I've been less than available to write these things is that due to a business trip, I was in Kansas/Nebraska for two nights in Mid-October. The trip went relatively well (it had its ups and downs), but it was a good time -- after all, I'd never been to either Kansas or Nebraska before, so it was an experience. Of course the worst part was the length of drive time (from here to Topeka, Kansas is about 9-10 hours, depending upon the number and length of stops)...but I had good company. smile

Theatrical Preparations

Yes, it's that time of year again in which to start thinking of One-Act Plays. In just over a month I really need to have a pretty concrete idea of what production I'm going to pursue with One-Act. At this time I haven't really decided at all what sort of 'mood' I'm in as related to production genre. I've also sent out some initial interest emails regarding the larger show (Three-Act), which will most likely be done (assuming that the appropriate funding is there...which is something I haven't heard back definitively on at this point) in the spring. I've heard back from a few people as to that production, and it seems as though spring is a better time for them this year. No production ideas for that one, though.

More work needs to be done on that front, but it's in the works now...and that's the important part.

More Projects

Well, in our trip to Alexandria yesterday, I did some competitive pricing of copper water pipe, PVC drain pipe, and so on as pertains to the forthcoming bathroom project. Off hand, it doesn't look as though it's going to be terribly bad to complete; the problem is finding an appropriate amount of time. We're in great fortune that in regards to this project we're really not going to be without any 'mission critical' facilities (e.g. bathroom sink and toilet) during the transition. This is because the toilet isn't changing at all and the sink is moving to a different location (so it can stay in place until the new one is functioning properly). As far as the bathtub goes (it's not changing), we don't use it as-is and won't until after the new shower is in place (which comes with the new sink and other plumbing)...because we currently use the shower in the basement which works just fine.

So, I'm in the process of drawing up the plan for execution...which will hopefully mean that we can reasonably tackle chunks of the project as we go and not the whole thing at once...and also minimize the mess.

Aside from that...

I've spent around an hour writing this now, so I think I'm going to let it go at that. Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

Sunday, September 19, 2004

September 19, 2004

More of the same!

Well, things have fallen into a sort of routine now in the last few weeks -- which is to some degree a much-welcomed ordeal to my life. smile

I forgot to mention...

...that we finally broke down and bought a lawnmower -- a regular riding kind. After much waiting (since we bought the house), it was a matter of buy another push mower (because we were going to kill the old one by pure use), find about 10 more hours in a week in which to get the lawn mowed, or just buy a damn riding lawnmower.

Of course, we chose the riding lawnmower option. As much as I didn't care to, we bought the L110 John Deere from one of the nearest Home Depot stores around (I'd have personally preferred a much closer John Deere Dealer...but that's something else entirely -- they didn't have anything available at the time). While the story of how we got it home I'll leave for the imagination or maybe tell another day, the machine works beautifully, and turned a nearly six-hour job into one complete in less than two.

It's nearly FALL!

I can't believe that it's already past the mid-September mark. In my random bits of spare time (namely weekends), I've been managing to get some of the odds and ends around the place taken care of (specifically the outside ones). Most of the tool shed is cleaned out (it just needs now to be reorganized), the garage is getting there, and the other outdoor projects (get the back yard backfilled a bit more and get some conduit installed for the Satellite (television -- which I've not yet ordered -- and Internet) connections between the house and garage) are on the burner yet.

About a week ago I spent a few hours and picked apples off the last of our four trees. I took about 3/4 of the apples, leaving the not-quite-ripe ones, which managed to fill seven full paper bags. After mowing the lawn yesterday, I discovered (and consumed several more) from the same tree, so I think sometime this week I'll go pick the rest. Beth and I both like apples, so having them around isn't anything bad as far as I'm concerned. I figure that in our little root cellar, they should keep for some time (hell, we had two crisper drawers full of apples in our apartment last year -- those lasted through May).

We haven't gotten this far yet, and considering that it was around a 95-degree heat index today it won't happen for at least another week, but one of the things I'd really like to get done soon is to repaint some of the storm windows for the house. I can count on one hand the number I need to actually install (so that makes this project easier), but the old storm windows (and the ones I replaced with screens for the remainder of the summer) had been caulked into place, so edge painting wasn't a big deal. Considering that I've cut a few of them out so we could have some airflow downstairs (all the upstairs windows have those combination storm windows), I would like to prepare them a bit better than they had been prior to reinstalling them. Then during the winter we can tinker with painting and re-screening the screen windows, etc.

This weekend's house project...

Considering that I have/had to scan some pictures (see the next segment) this weekend and through the early part of this upcoming week, I wasn't able to get as much done around the house as I'd hoped. But, as I mentioned above...today was a 90+ degree day. An excellent opportunity to do a basement project!

And the basement project at hand -- ductwork. More specifically, doing some 'pseudo-repair' work on the ductwork. But first, some background information:

This house was built in 1946. We're quite fortunate that the vast majority of things and features of this house are still original...and in very good working order. But, with that comes a tradeoff. You see, there's this interesting white fiberous covering 'sealing' each duct joint in the basement. It looks a little bit like an old tattered rag that was wet and left out to dry -- for several years. From the very beginning, I've had the sneaking suspicion it's some sort of asbestos-containing material. The only part of our homebuying experience which has been disappointing was this issue -- nobody seemed to know for sure (or want to form an educated guess) as to what the stuff really was. Based upon the age of the house, the observation of material properties, and some research into this particular issue, I'm relatively sure that it contains asbestos. Regardless, the vast majority of it is in good shape, although it's obviously not as tight a seal as it once was upon close inspection. But, with that said, there are a few concerning spots to me...which brings along this repair project.

Now, I'm not about to try to duct tape plastic bags around the stuff and make some sort of incubator contraption to remove it, nor am I going to hire a 'professional' to remove it -- considering I don't even know what the hell it really is. I'm going to go about the more practical method for me to deal with it -- cover and seal it. In my research about asbestos and how to go about dealing with it, I've discovered (with the assistance of Beth, who had to go through an asbestos training session of some sort for her painting job this past summer) that, assuming the material is in good shape, it can either be left alone or sealed off.

On a recent trip (I believe it was at Home Depot, although I could be wrong), we purchased some of the high-quality foil ductwork tape. This was step one. This afternoon, I finally went to work in the basement. Starting with the spots in good shape (to get a feel for how to use the foil tape and just how to successfully seal it up), I covered the material, piece by piece, ensuring that the pieces were not only sealed to the ductwork, but also to other pieces, completely covering up the material in question. In the period of about three hours, I managed to get around half of the exposed ductwork taken care of. To my fortune, the cold air returns do not have this material around them so it makes the job automatically half what it could be.

There are three spots in the ducts (one of which now has been 95% covered) where a major separation has occurred. Since these have been separated since before we even looked at the house and haven't gotten any worse, I'm assuming that the dirty work has been done. So, what I attempted to do in those places was to carefully seal the ripped pieces (these all have shown up where a duct was split into two branches) to the closest section of ductwork; then re-sealing the joint as the original material was done. In other words, I 'folded back' the ripped pieces, sealing them off in the process; then I came back to re-seal the gap which was left. Probably not the smartest idea, but here again, I feel better knowing that the individual pieces are covered and sealed as best I can do.

Anyway, the project has gone well. A small coat of paint or some other liquid-based sealant will complete the job, but that probably won't get done until next spring at the earliest. Besides, it'll probably be next weekend before I get to finishing the remaining ductwork.

Pictures!

No, I've not got any new pictures in my collection online -- that's a winter project now. smile

Our church is doing one of those centennial church directories. With that comes all the individual pictures taken by a professional photographer (which have been done). But, in addition to that are all the submitted photos and reproductions which are necessary. That's where I come in. I was volunteered to take care of reproductions and digitization for those which are necessary. Of course, I'm not complaining. It's good to use the scanner and equipment I've got around here once in a while.

Anyway, on Saturday I scanned the oldest pictures I've ever scanned before. The oldest of which dates to 1917. It's been a fun experience, but is definitely a workout for the old Macintosh I need to use for my scanner! With that said, I've managed to get about half the pictures scanned, but not yet reprinted or converted to a distribution-friendly (e.g. JPEG) format. Hopefully I'll get the remainder of those done tomorrow evening, or at least scanned so I can get them printed and back to church on or around Tuesday/Wednesday. They're needed by Thursday evening at the very latest.

That's all, folks!

I believe that touches on most everything for my life right now. It's still very warm (around 80 degrees) and late (past 11pm), so I'm heading for bed. Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

Saturday, September 4, 2004

September 4, 2004

Welcome to September!

Although it doesn't seem like it, it is actually September now. With labor day only a few dozen hours from now, the traditional 'end of summer' is really here.

Anyway, enough of the boring and depressing stuff! On to exciting stuff!

Illness

Well, I'm finally more or less over my late-summer cold. It came on shortly after my last post on August 22. By far the worst of it was Tuesday through Thursday of that week (24-26), but as all colds of mine do, they linger for at least a week. Things were never dire, but just a general pain in the ass. smile It's another reason why I haven't posted anything here in the last two weeks.

Hot Water!

Well, I broke down so to speak and arranged to have an off-peak electric water heater installed. It was something I knew was necessary when we moved, since the old water heater (a 52 gallon) was old in appearance...and as we found out later, had a burnt out element. Anyway, with all that aside, the new water heater got installed Friday morning.

Let me tell you -- it's a beast! For the off-peak storage deal, the smallest heater we could get was a 105-gallon. Double our previous capacity. It's also completely non-metallic (if you don't count the obvious water lines), so it won't rust out as is so common. smile The thing is 70" high, and 30" in diameter. Huge! Along with it came a sub-meter and radio control with a relay to remove power to the unit as necessary. The installation itself only took about 2 hours, including removal of the old heater.

I was impressed, and have been impressed thus far with the new heater. At least we'll both be able to take a shower and not have to worry about running out of hot water. With the old, we maybe had 20 gallons of good hot water (due to the bad element), and now with 105...if we run out, there's a serious problem. :P

That's about all!

Things are pretty well routine as of late; Beth's back to classes and doing some student teaching-like stuff. I'm doing the daily work thing (which is going well and on-track with our most recent project), so until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

Sunday, August 22, 2004

August 22, 2004

Busy Weekend

Strangely enough, it doesn't feel like it, but we've managed to get a lot accomplished this weekend. I finally found the power supply unit for our old DSL modem so I can get that stuff back to our old telco for the apartment. That was a nice find -- so I don't feel stupid telling them that I do indeed have the stuff somewhere...but where is another question. smile

Anyway, in addition to that, I finally took the time yesterday (Saturday) to install the new kitchen sink. We'd bought a new sink now several weeks ago, but I hadn't actually installed it yet. With new fixtures attached, it looks much better and at 9 1/2" deep (the old one was about 6 1/2" deep) it is much more functional for our purposes. After both of us working in and around food-related operations for a few years, deep sinks are a necessity (you kinda get used to those great big commercial units). I'm happy to report that there were even no leaks in the post-install test. Thank God for silicone sealants. smile

While working in the kitchen, I decided to tackle the overhead light above the sink. This fixture itself was in working order, but was positioned in such a way that the light was almost blinding when it was on (it shone right into your eyes). This, of course, was not acceptable and had to get fixed. I installed a new fixture base for it and have also installed a compact florescent lamp. Of course, while I was on the job, I installed a new switchplate and toggle switch for the fixture. But with the repositioning of the lamp itself, it's apparent that the inside of the fixture (it's just an empty unavailable portion of cupboard) will need to be painted white to help reflect the light downward. But that's a project for another day. smile

I also finally found one of the required speaker cables for the home theater set-up, so I was able to actually hook up the speakers this afternoon. We'd previously been using it, but had to "pipe" the sound through the various pieces to use the television speakers. Not any more (unless we really want to).

Beth managed to get a whole bunch of stuff put away and straightened out in the spare bedroom and cleared a whole lot of stuff out of the office. Things are once again beginning to look like a real abode! We've even got some of the pictures on the walls again! Considering I finally got the outlet changed in the kitchen last week so we can use the dishwasher again, I'm going to have to take on the bathroom project just for something to do. smile

Anyway, that's about all I can think of right off hand, so until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Thursday, August 19, 2004

August 19, 2004

More of the same...

Yeah, I've taken another mini vacation from posts...it tends to happen in the summer. smile

The network -- revisited

The network has been working quite well as noted before, with the exceptions also previously noted. Nothing really changed there until the other day (it was actually Tuesday (8/17/04)) when all the sudden I noticed NTP synchronization (with the upstream server I use) in the logfiles. Upon further investigation, I also noticed that the local NTP server was functioning properly and serving time requests to the local network.

What's particularly curious is that nothing changed as far as configurations go during this time -- NTP just decided it was time to work again. Strangely enough, it was similar behavior to this in how it started working when I first set it up...so who knows. Matt's rule of thumb when it comes to NTP server setup: Don't make major configuration file changes and it will continue to work fine. smile

Named/BIND is still a bit flaky, although it seems to be getting more stable (although slowly). Lately (the last few days) it seems to be working better...so I restarted Nagios (network monitor)...and we'll see what happens. If it stays stable (namely related to BIND) for a week or two, I might try again to migrate to using all internal resources for client machines.

Water issues -- revisited

Well, as planned the new Kinetico water softener was installed the day after the last post (August 2). Needless to say, we have noticed a 1000% difference in all aspects of water quality. The unit has been running about twice a week, which is actually less than we'd anticipated...and is something that's not 'set in stone' since it's purely on-demand regeneration (that whole non-electric thing).

It's been a welcome change, and I was recently able to actually see firsthand how the whole thing mechanically works. It's very neat how a series of gears and a little water turbine sets off various valves (all with just water pressure) which makes it do what it does without electricity.

Everything through the softener has been changed to much larger pipe (3/4"), and that's made a major difference in flow. So sometime now this fall I'll finish the job of re-plumbing as we do the bathroom project.

Abstracts!

I finally received the paperwork from the lawyer now a few weeks ago and was able to go through the abstract for this property...which is always interesting reading. I need to go back again and re-read it, this time more in depth and track some of the things a little better...but it's definitely neat to see some of the stuff that shows up in there (mostly because I'm a weird history geek when it comes to stuff like that).

Lots of other stuff

I'm sure there are plenty of other things I could mention here, but I can't think of anything off hand at the moment. It is becoming more apparent that the work life may suck me into its bowels, specifically through September and possibly through Thanksgiving, depending upon some of the projects we're working on. On the bright side, it's steady income...and I enjoy doing what I do. smile

Anyway, I think I'll leave it at that for now. Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Sunday, August 1, 2004

August 1, 2004

Another mini-vacation from posts...

It's been a while since the last post I've made here; much has taken place in that time -- the things I can readily recall will be noted here. For everything else...well...perhaps another time. smile

Network Issues

As you may recall from the last post, I was having some implementation problems with the servers on the local network. I'm happy to report that most of the mission-critical stuff has been since fixed, and things are working well. I got the subnets working as expected, and the internal network (e.g. all the client machines) now use the router box as the internal router/firewall. This box is the only machine that speaks with the modem...which is how I want it set up (for firewalling reasons). That part of the network (and DHCP service) has been restored and is 100% operational.

On the other hand, NTP is still not working. Why, I'm not quite sure, but I have a feeling it's got something to do with the uplink. It attempts to synchronize right away and generally fails. This should not keep the internal network from functioning, however. Upon checking the status of open/listening ports, it is listening, but not doing anything. As I've mentioned before, NTP is the least important network feature at this time.

Bind/DNS is still spotty. I spent a few nights tinkering with this and received mixed results. For some reason, even after I re-wrote the entire named.conf file from scratch, adding features as I went along...if I ever flush the cache tables, I get SERVFAIL messages in return for lookups. It has something to do with the forwarding and/or manual lookups. What, I'm not exactly sure yet...but it works about 50-75% of the time, which in DNS terms, is not acceptable.

At this time, only my personal machine (and the servers themselves) use the local DNS; all other client machines are configured via DHCP to use the ISP DNS servers.

But everything else is working, and that's clearly a Good Thing.

Water Issues

Water Conditioning

I wouldn't necessarily call it an 'issue' per se, but the house we bought came with a 28-year old water softener. Fortunately, it does still work, but with the particulars of the water here, it doesn't really have the gusto for the two of use. After tinkering with it some, I made it more acceptable, but it's still not perfect (I don't ask for perfection, either).

I was intending on replacing it with a Kinetico unit. They're pretty much the top-of-the-line units which use no electricity to operate (it's demand-driven and operates on water pressure) and are generally superior to pretty much any water softener on the market. Of course, with this comes a nice price tag, but I digress...

Anyway, I happened to be manning our Sunrise Software booth at the Grant County Fair -- just down the road in Herman, MN (you may recall that as the 'bachelor town' from the early 90's). Anyway, while at that fair, I met several new exhibitors and conversed with several others I already knew (the benefits of living in a rural environment and Bullshitting like I do). One in particular was a representative from a company in Alexandria, MN, which happens to be the nearest Kinetico dealer for me (I'd already looked that information up). After two days of idle chat and discussing my current water situation, I arranged for him to come out and do some testing (it was an easy sale since I already knew I was going to get a Kinetico unit). Well, long story short, a new Kinetico water softener is being installed tomorrow afternoon, and the guy was nice enough to give me a 'more generous than normal' discount as well as change some existing plumbing for me (I have a major plumbing project coming up in the next few months).

Plumbing!

One of my goals leading up to the renovation of the bathroom (the first real major project of the house) is to re-plumb the water lines in the house. Considering that all of our water-using rooms are on the main level, this makes the job a lot simpler.

The short of the story right now is that water enters the house on a 1" line, then is reduced to 1/2" entering the softener, and 3/8" for all hard water faucets (e.g. the one outside and the one line to the kitchen). From the softener, cold water is all run on 3/8" lines from there on, and water to the water heater is 1/2". Hot water is all run on 1/4" lines, with the exception of the washing machine (which is 1/2"). To boot, almost everything is done with compression fittings which, in my limited experience, tend to fail exponentially with time. The softener guy is going to run 3/4" lines from the main shut-off through the softener, which will make my job of re-plumbing everything from that point much simpler.

As of today, I've removed the hard water faucet in the kitchen (I have no use for it, and will T-off a (softened) cold water line for the faucet in the future) and therefore more or less removed the line to the kitchen area. As of tomorrow, the remaining line will be removed. So, at this time I pretty much need to put together a plumbing schematic and implement it. I've got a good idea of what I'd like to do at this time, so that helps. smile Actual implementation, on the other hand, probably won't take place until we start the bathroom project (because I can do it all in one shot then instead of messing with the same places twice).

No More Birds!

After the first bird entered the chimney and couldn't find its way out (aside from peck at the draft flap in the basement near the furnace), we knew it would be necessary to place wire mesh around the cover at the top of the chimney. After the second bird entered the chimney, we took action. I had really hoped I could wait longer than a month to go climbing on the roof of the house, but after obtaining an extension ladder from a neighbor the job was done in mere minutes.

Thanks to chicken wire doubled over (to make a slightly more "tight" mesh) and attached with baling wire (that stuff is great!), we should have no more fowl getting in there...and if it did get in there...it should have no problem getting back out. It was primarily the big fowl (e.g. robins or other larger small birds) which had a tough time.

Unpacking...

It's getting better as time goes by. Things are slowly making their way out of boxes and into appropriate places or into storage. Things look significantly different than two weeks ago, I think.

Cats

I don't recall if I mentioned this in a previous post or not, but we've acquired a second cat. The price was right (free), and he (yes, he) came fixed and de-clawed. At first I was a little hesitant about a second cat, specifically a male cat, but Felix (the new cat) and George have really gotten along pretty well since the very beginning. Granted, they get into their little battles once in a while, but ironically enough, Felix wins his share (even though he doesn't have claws and George still has his claws).

Felix has been quite an addition to the family, and 'the boys' are definitely a fun pair to have hanging around. Beth and I have our 'respective cat,' Beth with Felix, and George with me. The worst part of having two cats happens to be on those random nights when they decide it's fun to play or fight in the middle of the night (sometimes right on our bed)...but we still love them all the same. smile

That's about all...

...for now. I've started writing this around 8, and it's now 10 (granted, we made supper and ate during this time, too). That...I'm tired...it's been humid today (although the A/C has come in handy)...and I've run out of things that I can think of to mention. Until next time...hopefully not as long as the last...
This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Monday, July 19, 2004

July 19, 2004

A Busy Month!

Well, it's been nearly a month since the last post I've made here; much has taken place in that time. Of course, I'm not going to cover it all...but I'll certainly try. smile

First off, the move!

As anticipated, the house purchasing process went off without any problems as scheduled on June 30. The whole process took only 35 minutes or so, thanks to the fact that the attorney had everything in order and ready to go.

So, beginning that afternoon we began the moving process -- something which wasn't easy by any means...purely based upon all of our stuff. This process took about a week and a half, each day taking with us at least two carloads of stuff. July 10 (Saturday) was the "big stuff" day and included the piano, couch, etc. Things moved relatively well and the process of moving in a two-week period has allowed us to at least filter/sort stuff as it came in...

The house thing is going well at this point in time. Of course, between unpacking and everything else related to the house, we've kept busy.

End of the Apartment Days

While we were technically moved out on Thursday (July 15), I didn't have a chance to get us checked out until Friday afternoon. The process went quite smoothly, and we should at least see some money come back from that, which is a good thing. Finally moving out of the apartment was in some ways a weird bittersweet thing, but it was definitely the thing to do -- especially now having more room and, well...a house.

More of the Work Thing

Things at work have been progressing as expected. The major rewrite and enhancement of one of our products has stayed on course well enough to allow us to have about 3/4 of one of the four 'modules' complete (which is about 1/3 of the existing program). Considering we have a prototype deadline around August 1 (for a basic-functioning program consisting of three of the four moduels) and that the two modules we have left to work on are much less labor-intense than the last one (of which a prototype won't be necessary until later this fall), we should be on track to deliver.

There are some other things on the fire as well, some of which seem more promising than others...but it's a way to keep busy nonetheless.

Internet Service!

After a couple-day delay in the installation of our Satellite Internet service through Direcway, we got hooked up to the world again on July 10. Of course, that was also major moving day...so while the network was in working order, I was unable to take time to hook everything up properly. As it turns out, there was more work to that than anticipated...

Unbeknownst to me, with the introduction of the self-hosting satellite modem...it's configured automatically to do NAT and DHCP (essentially some of the things that my network servers were doing already). There is no way to shut these off that I've found...which is okay. BUT, another problem is that the modem is permanently configured to use my existing subnet...which is a worse problem to deal with.

So, while it took a few days to get worked out properly, I migrated the internal network to a new subnet. Since the modem doesn't firewall anything...in order to properly bridge the connections without odd side effects (and to maintain a firewall), it was necessary to change subnets. I'm happy to report that this change, while major, has gone fairly well and things are in relative working order.

That is, minus internal DNS and NTP (time synchronization) service. The NTP thing I can live without until I take time to tinker more (that took the longest to get properly working the last time)...but the internal DNS thing I miss quite a bit. While those nets have been changed and reflected in the DNS tables I maintain locally, for some reason (I haven't yet had enough time or patience to seriously hash it out) when I try to do lookups locally, I get SERVFAIL messages.

It works for the internal networks, but the minute a request is forwarded or looked up directly for the Internet, it fails. The firewall has been adjusted appropriately and shouldn't be causing any problems...but as I stated before, I haven't had enough time to really go through line-by-line to figure out what the hell the problem really is. So, in the meantime...I've changed the internal DHCP to use the regular ISP-provided DNS server so at least regular Internet service works. It just means I have to use the IP addresses directly in local communications...which sucks once you've been used to it the DNS way. smile

Anyway, I have to say that the satellite service really books it...way the hell faster than my old 128k connection at the apartment. Our average transfer rate is somewhere between 750k and 1250k (it averages about 1MB)...depending upon where we're going and what we're doing. Of course, the primary disadvantage to the satellite link is the latency (1/4 second each way -- 1/2 second each request)...which is apparent when working in terminal-land or when making lots of remote CVS requests to work...but for web browsing and the other regular Internet stuff it works great!

That's about all...

...for now. I'm sure there's lots of stuff I've skimmed over or missed completely, but as things begin to settle down a bit more, I should be back online and posting more news as time and events allow.

Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

June 23, 2004

Another Busy Week

Well, even though it doesn't seem like it, it's been a fairly busy time around the old abode. We spent a portion of the weekend at my parents' for an event they were having, although the real reason we went was to see the new John Deere Gator they took delivery of last Friday. smile This piece of equipment goes roughly twice as fast as the previous Gator they had. It also has both front and rear suspension with 4x4 capabilities. Overall, it's a much better beast than the old, with the same distinct features. It's just a whole lot more rugged and versatile now. Granted, with a top speed of about 25 (the old one went around 15) it's not about to make any speed record...but it does make the machine more palatable in general.

Anniversary Trip

Yesterday marked our two-year anniversary as 'old married folk' and officially kicks us out of the newlywed phase. Thank God for that. smile

Anyway, this year we decided several months ago to actually do something, although preferrably low-key and low-budget. smile After finding out that Les Miserables just happened to be in a run at the Ordway over the period in time of our anniversary, it was clear that it would be the cities to which we would head -- after all, Beth had never seen this production before...and I certainly wasn't going to turn down viewing #5 -- especially since it'd been four years since the last time I'd seen it.

Of course, in the time since we'd initially planned the dates and such, this whole house thing came up...throwing just a little bit of a wrench into the deal. Fortunately it wasn't a big wrench, but it did mean that some things had to be wrapped up before we could go...

So, Monday at noon we departed after taking the morning to get some things done during the 'business day.' We stayed at a place in Richfield, close to the Mall of America -- a staple of any of our visits to the metro area. The trip Monday was more or less spent relaxing. We first went to the Mall of America and did the regular stuff -- namely visiting Camp Snoopy to do some rides. There's a new rollercoaster there which opened earlier this spring -- and it's quite intense for being an indoor coaster. smile We also took the opportunity to go out for a nice supper that night.

Tuesday was the main day of events for us, and started out by heading to Minneapolis, just for the heck of it. We spent some time driving around in downtown Minneapolis and looking around...mostly just because. smile We made our way all around downtown and stopped for some culture at the Walker Art Center. We also drove by a portion of lake calhoun and had a really good time. After a stop to eat and a return to the hotel to nap and change clothes, we then went to St. Paul in the mid-afternoon.

We made a trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota (a venue quite literally a stone's throw from the Ordway) where we easily spent a few hours...and could have easily spent a few hours more. It was also reasonably priced for admission and is something I'd recommend. Of course, we're both into that weird sort of thing called science...so that might have some bearing on the review. Of course, I thought the most interesting stuff were the hands-on displays where interaction was required. smile

And of course, last but not least was a trip to actually see Les Miserables. The show didn't start until 8:00, so we had a little time to kill, which we used to eat. And the show was definitely worthwhile. We had seats which, while they weren't in the center orchestra section, were right next to the left-side aisle separating the center from the left side seating. Combine that with the stone's throw from the stage distance, and I would have to say it's about prime viewing space for me. Much in the way of good times were had, and we left St. Paul that night around 11:30pm.

Wednesday (today) was spent again in St. Paul after checking out of the hotel. We spent a few hours at Como Zoo, near the state fairgrounds, and got to see a lot of cool stuff there. The observatory was particularly interesting with the different plants and arrangements -- many of which I'd only heard of before. And of course, monkeys. smile Monkeys are always cool...as are polar bears, one of which kept swimming backflips in the pools. smile

And, we ran into our only inclement weather on our way home...which is always nice. smile

Overall, we had an excellent time and got to do a lot of stuff in a relatively short period of time.

House stuff...

Well, the packing continues and we're still on track to get this thing done next week. I've got to do some more calling and whatnot tomorrow, but since we had no messages in the time we're gone, that's a sign that everything is on track and should go off without a hitch.

So, we'll see what happens...and until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

June 15, 2004

Boxes, and...Boxes...

Well, the packing has taken a slightly more serious turn now. The problem now is simply real estate -- where to put all the damn boxes. smile

Anyway, it's a necessary evil, and we're dealing with it as anticipated.

On a related note, we've tentatively set our closing date to June 30 in the early afternoon. This seems to work so far for everyone involved, so pending any delays...

H2

I've wanted to do this for some time now, but never took the advantage. I took the car in for an oil change today...and as a 'loaner' car, I test drove a 2003 Hummer H2, for the day. smile It is one of those things that I have no true desire to actually own but would rather say I've had the opportunity to grace.

It's quite like that which I think driving a tank would be. It was actually quite fun, and in Morris, a definite head-turner. Overall, I have to say that I had a lot of fun with it, if for nothing more than just showing it off to other people who had similar curiosities as mine. So, I can scratch that off the list of things to do -- drive an H2. Hey, that rhymed!

Anyway, until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Sunday, June 13, 2004

June 13, 2004

Busy, yet Quiet

The last week seemed to fly by due the busy schedule; yet it was relatively quiet as far as the events which took place (for the most part).

The House!

Well, as of mid-last week, the appraisal had been done on the house; Friday we found out that it came through without any problems. This means that things are really starting to wrap up in the process. It was also a huge relief, since that would have been the last major barrier in the process. So, as of this time, we've set a tentative closing date of around July 1. While I haven't heard what the exact date is as of today, in discussing appropriate dates, it seemed the most logical for all parties involved.

So, that's a nearly-complete thing. And there will be a newly-installed septic system to boot ready to go when we close.

Rick the Brick

The last week was Vacation Bible School at church, and I happened to be involved with the daily skit work. Fortunately, it was minimally-invasive and went smoothly. It was also a pretty good time returning to the stage, so to speak. I played Rick the Brick and was costumed in a large cardboard box which was something I'd never done before...so that made it cool as well. And the kids liked it, so that makes it all worthwhile.

Aside from that...

...it's time to start packing up seriously now and get ready to go. I am fairly sure that my online-ness will be limited for at least the next upcoming month. Partially due to lack of service. I am intending to go with the satellite internet option for a few reasons I won't explain right here, but when I get that hooked up (and find someone to do it) is something else entirely. I'm also intending on disconnecting phone/Internet/cable service here on or around July 1, so we'll see what happens... smile

Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Sunday, June 6, 2004

June 6, 2004

Quiet Week

It was a relatively quiet week compared to some in the recent past, yet it seemed busy regarding activities. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but that's just how it is.

Amongst other things, Beth has started to pack up a little bit here and there. So far, it's just been the small stuff and that which was already on shelves out of the common reach/use. And speaking of the house thing, that's also on the next step to completion...

I believe at some time I had posted about the septic quote and/or at least the process. Well, that's all figured out now and is only pending a closing date at this time. So, now it's up to the bank appraisal, all the title stuff, and a lot of paper to sign.

That's about it for the time being. I can't think of anything else right now...so until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Monday, May 31, 2004

May 31, 2004

More on Server Updates...

Well, of course I can't just leave the situation as-is, even though it technically works. wink

This morning, I decided to take yet another stab at the problems with the server. This time, however, I was planning on eradicating Cyrus-IMAP from the system. The question then becomes...what system for POP3/IMAP do I use in its place?

After doing some research, I decided that instead of going with UW-IMAP, I'd go with Dovecot...mostly because it's part of the FC2 distribution and therefore easy to gain access to (as opposed to downloading it). Voila -- there was an easily-configurable and straightforward server daemon.

So, after minimal fuss with that stuff (while I think Cyrus is definitely an option to look into for mail delivery agents, it's very unnecessary for me -- since these machines only have 3-4 mail accounts tops (each)), the mail retrieval is going well, and after some modifications again in sendmail, all notes of Cyrus as MDA are gone. It was also at this time I did some more configuration to allow remote SMTP connections from within the intranet (the firewall aptly takes care of blocking (as the first step) requests from the outside). Things are going well now.

And after some other minor configuration/uninstallation stuff, the servers were not only communicating with each other via email, but they were also allowing me to get that mail from my own client machine.

And with all that email stuff aside, I was able to wrap up some of the other minor config things (e.g. checking the logfiles over the last few days to look for tweaks)...and it appears at this time as though things are going well. smile

So, that was really a weekend gone...devoted to some degree (don't read it as though I spent the whole weekend sitting at the servers, because that's certainly not what happened) to the upgrading process.

Monthly Work Client Update

Today (Monday) was a good day to do the client machine upgrades at work, specifically as nobody else is there. I generally do this monthly...and generally on the [first] weekend after the new month begins. Since the month of June technically hasn't begun, but since there's a holiday and it's poor weather outside, I took advantage of the time. It only takes about two hours to fully update and do maintenance tasks on all client machines. Pretty low-key, but good to do when nobody else is around (just for the sake of not having to wait for people to find a different client to use temporarily).

It's TIRE-ing...

Well, I've finally broken down and decided to get a tire fixed on my pickup. It's been problematic for at least a good month now, and I've just been putting off the inevitable. Generally speaking, the tire in question (rear, passenger side) loses about 2psi/week. This means that at least once a week I must pump it back to regular pressure.

I've been putting off taking the tire in to get fixed, mostly because I haven't taken time to actually change the tire and run on the spare for a day or two. Since I only have to go to work and back with it -- that's just in town, so it's not a big deal as far as wear on the spare.

Well, today -- since it's so 'lovely' outside with the rain and all -- I decided to just get it done with. The idea being -- with the spare on there, it looks horrid, so I'll make it a priority to get the good one fixed. And it's true -- I will definitely make it a priority to get that bad boy in for repair -- tomorrow!

Chances are a tire tube will fix the problem -- specifically since it's a slow leak and the tire itself is in good structural shape. But, it's just a matter of getting it done.

Anyway, that's how the weekend wraps up...so until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Sunday, May 30, 2004

May 30, 2004

Upgrading Woes

Well, having looked a little more into the Cyrus IMAP thing, I've decided that the upgrade sufficiently FUBARred the mail handing stuff. Sendmail is working as expected, and for local mail, things are good. But, to get mail via POP or IMAP, there's not a chance in hell without some serious time commitment and lots of configuration/upgrade changes.

At this point in time, it would appear as though the upgrade didn't completely upgrade a few packages, because reinstalling/upgrading the Cyrus packages result in failed dependencies. Now, since most everything else is working as anticipated, this isn't a huge problem. But, it's a problem...and therefore bugs me. smile So, I decided to run the upgrade on the upgrade, just to see what happens.

Well, that worked -- and didn't take very long. It did actually run the upgrade on the pieces I needed (the ones which were being complained about). But, there was another, more serious, issue that developed...

The network card also started not working in this server as well!

Just like the other one, it's got a link light. The primary difference in this upgrade process -- it's a PCI NIC...identical to the one which IS working on the other server.

It was at this time that I decided to actually reinstall from scratch and preserve the configurations and such (by backing them up to a different location).

I have a feeling that this is somewhat related to the 2.6 kernel, although I could be wrong (and certainly have been in the past). We shall see what happens after the install completes...

On the bright side, though, it could be worse -- at least it's the secondary machine and not the router/firewall. That'd be a whole lot worse. smile The only problem now is that there are NFS mounts on the server which is now not on the network...but those aren't system mounts (with the exception of /home) so we should be fine for a while. smile

If this thing goes well, I really think I'll do the same thing on the router box. Of course, that's much more touchy...because it truly brings the network down. But, I really should do some other miscellaneous hardware upgrades and whatnot with that machine...so I think I'll hold off at least for a while with that beast.

As I write this, it would appear as though the install process is about 20% complete... I will update again later in the day as necessary.

10PM Update

Well, the reinstall went just fine, without any major problems. In fact, it did fix some of the other problems (including the network card thing). Why, I'm not exactly sure, but it's working for now and that's all that matters.

The install didn't, however, take care of the Cyrus IMAP problem. It's becoming apparent that I'm going to have to manually compile either the new version of UW IMAP (which is what I'd used in the past) or Cyrus-IMAP to get this thing resolved. The RPM files just aren't cutting it...so it's time for some more drastic measures.

So, the battle is not yet over; on the other hand, it's just going to boil down to how badly I really need to download mail to a client instead of logging in manually. smile

So we'll take it from there and see what happens.

Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

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