20090830

ABG Bōka Frumista Meina

I posted a new Gothic video today,  though not a Gothic for Goths.  Here's a little abecedary I made for my niece, Aubrey:

Enjoy!

20090822

Hop to it!

I just got Peat to take some nifty pics of me in my hops garden. Check ’em out on Picasa.

West (& Wewaxation)

I’m just having a nice weekend off... from everything!  No work, no drama, no cleaning, no nothing.  I’m going to need it as the beginning of the school year draws nigh.  So here are just a few random things floating around my head at the moment.

Hair

I’ve been having a great debate with myself about my hair over the last couple of weeks.  For one thing, it’s getting close to the beginning of school, at which time i usually shave off the mohawk and go back to pain old boring old corporate slave hair.  That time usually coincides happily with the start of football season, and experience has shown me that if you have a purple mohawk after the Vikings start playing, that’s all you’re going to hear about - on the bus, from students coming into the office, from random people on the street.

But i’ve decided that i don’t really care if people assume i’m a Vikings fan just because i have a purple mohawk.  I have a purple mohawk because i like purple mohawks, and i’m not going to let Brett Favre dictate my coif’.  I don’t care any more about football than i ever did (that’s the one with the ball shaped like Stewie’s head, right?), but i’m not going to let it influence my already questionable fashion choices either.

So right now i’m touching up the ’hawk with some more purple and getting my coif’ on.  I also took some ½” clear tapers i had around and left them in a ziplock bag for a week with the same purple dye i use on my hair, and they’re now a lovely identical shade, and particularly impressive when i put the ’hawk in spikes.

I’ll get some new picks of it up soon, but both of my digital cameras have suffered some sort of traumatic disaster, and it will have to be up to my cell phone.

Coffee

In other news, i’ve nearly perfected the art of coffee.  That is to say, that, in preparing for the upcoming Robot Apocalypse, i decided that i’m not willing to be without coffee for any extended length of time, and so i invested in a coffee roaster and some green coffee beans.  I’ve made about four batches so far, and have discovered that precisely 23 minutes in the roaster (for frozen beans – 20 for room temperature) produces what may be the best cup of coffee i’ve ever tasted.  So far i’ve only experimented with beans from Uganda and Honduras, but as soon as i find a good source for green Malaŵi beans, i’m going to order a 50 pound bag.  That ought to keep me in good coffee for about a year, and at about $4 a pound, definitely an improvement over the Kona i usually drink.

Robot Apocalypse

Mind you, i don’t really believe that a Robot Apocalypse is coming.  That would be stupid.  But i do think that Great Depression 2.0 is just around the corner, and it will not deprive me of coffee or any of the other “necessaties” that i could live without, but wouldn’t want to.  I’ve always had a thing for cottage industry, but lately i’ve been ramping it up a little, learning how to make most of the stuff i might, someday soon, not be able to buy.  Like coffee.  And of course i’ve already got the beer, wine, cheese, yoghurt, vinegar thing down.  (I just bottled five gallons of a really nice trappist trippel that i’m particularly excited to try!)  And those of you who know me well already know that my goal is one day to return to the Farm and make artisanal cheeses.  Well, that day may be coming sooner than i thought.

 (To be continued shortly: I have to go wash out the dye...)

Okay, so i'm back.  Here's a picture, although it will look a lot better in a day or two once all the colors even our.
So, anyway, yeah, about the Robot Apocalypse...  What was i talking about again?

Here’s another where i tried to be artsy, but it came out a little weird.  But the geometric thing i was going for came through pretty well.

20090821

Importing Old Blogs

In case anybody's wondering where all these old blog posts are coming from, I'm working on importing the entries from my old blog space into this interface. Not sure how to handle the comments yet, but they're not really that important anyway.

For now I'm skipping the ones that have image links in them (mostly linguistic in nature) because they're not cooperating entirely.

20090819

So it's official...

Lenovo doesn't support sysprep, and they acknowledge that sysprep does not work with their default recovery partition intact. Microsoft does not support not using sysprep for cloned computers. Lenovo kindly offered to sell us blocks of hours for support, though.

Meanwhile, however, I have a new trick up my sleeve. My solution won't be supported by Lenovo or Microsoft, but, since neither is reality, I guess I'm okay with that, and it will at least mean that students will get their laptops this fall.

More fun on that front as well: Every year we work closely with Admissions to get accurate enrollment numbers so we can buy as close to the right number of laptops as possible. This year when we placed the order, enrollment was at 241, but would probably drop to about 235. We ordered 245, because we like to have five to ten loaners.

And the incoming class of 2012 is ...drumroll... 211.

Um, anybody wanna buy a laptop?

20090818

Fail Update

My last pleading request to Lenovo for any sort of answers to the imaging conundrum resulted in an Out-of-Office reply from our primary (read: only) support contact, which contained a number for emergency support, which took me to IBM (not Lenovo) hardware support in Brazil, who told me they were going to bill me for support because the brand new machines are not under warranty.

headdesk headdesk headdesk

Why does Lenovo hate us? Why?

20090816

Failing on all Fronts

I'm not sure is there's a cosmological explanation for this, but i think this could be summed up as the Week of Fail. At first i thought it was a particularly bad Mercury retrograde, but i looked it up and found that that doesn't start for another month (September 6th). And it doesn't seem to be just me.

Anyway, my own personal week of fail really started last Wednesday (the 5th of August). I had created the image for the new laptops for the incoming students, and was genuinely happy with it. After sysprepping it and cloning it to my first new machine, i got a message:

"The system registry contains invalid file paths. Installation cannot proceed. This system image was applied without guaranteeing that drive-letter assignments would match across computers."

I Googled it and forumed it and queried it and came up with several interesting answers, but none of them helped. One, however (doing a sort of shady registry-hack work-around), resulted in the message changing to:

"Windows could not update the computer's boot configuration. Installation cannot proceed."

I fought with the image throughout the weekend. Monday i continued, after some minor fail involving leaving my paper notes about the installation, as well as my tablet with the rest my notes, at home. Tuesday the hopelessness gradullay began to set in. I tried every possible permutation with zero success. I worked on it Tuesday until 2:00am, then after a short nap, someone drunk-wrong-number-dialed me at 4:45am and I was up and working on it again.

Wednesday i still hadn't heard back from Lenovo about possible solutions to the problem, but fortunately i had a meeting with Web Development to take my mind off it for a little while. During the meeting, my lovely new x200 tablet completely bricked. Or rather, i should say, the $400 solid state HDD for my beautiful new tablet suddenly went paperweight on me. Unreadable by any technology we have in our office, and that generally means it can't be recovered without an expensive visit to OnTrak... and they don't support SSD. My last backup, of course, was just before i started making notes about the T400 install.

Thursday the 13th is the day i needed to roll out the first four laptops. Having completely given up at this point, i came in early on Thursday and set up four completely new images from scratch by hand, finishing them just in the nick of time. At that point, i had worked right around 68 hours for the week (since my lab setup was on my dining room table, and i just went home and kept working), so i gave up, went home, collapsed, and slept for 16 hours.

(Um, by the way, in case Steve or any of the Law School PTBs are reading this, don't worry. I won't go overtime or cause any HR problems about "volunteering time" - i didn't show up on Friday and i'll take appropriately shortened days next week to make up for it. Meh.)

By the way, Lenovo did get back to me on Friday, saying something along the lines of, "You guys are using Windows XP, and you can't use sysprep for Vista on XP." Obviously, we have once again been mistaken for the Carlson School of Management. Bitter, bitter, bitter. We've been on Vista for nearly three years.

But the fail doesn't stop there. Peat's ride home from Kawashaway blew up and he had to find another. Then ride #2 fell madly in love and decided to stay another week.

Jenn had her own adventures in Chicago just trying to get home to Minneapolis. I quote the txt directly:

Just landed in Mpls. The levels of FAIL involved are stupefying. Never EVER attempt to do the new thing with boarding pass images on your phone even if you are there 2 hours early.

DO NOT EVER. EVER. SRSLY.
There was a lot more fail there than just the iPhone boarding pass, too. But that's another story. Nick had a fair bit of technology fail as well. Then there was last night's latest episode of Jenn getting really drunk, throwing things, acting like a four-year-old, and storming off, ruining a perfectly nice Cracker show that she'd taken me to for my birthday. I've decided, though, that i'm just too old to put up with that kind of shit anymore, from anyone, least of all someone who's in her 30s and ought to have grown out of that by now. Next time anyone wants to spend $15 on me, just mail it. Yeah, sorry, still stinging a little from that one.

In fact, friend fail doesn't stop there, and doesn't stop at Jenn. Quite a few people rubbing me the wrong way lately, and starting to get a little sore.

I'm still waiting to see how the predictive linguistics play out next week, but i'm already starting to think it might be high time to start planning the move back to the mountains. I was thinking it should probably wait until next spring, but i wonder if fall might be better. I ordered a cream separator and an electric butter churn online and had them sent to my parents' for safe-keeping. Still open to any advice anyone has about how to go about investing in silver.

In good news, though, yesterday i went to Coastal Seafoods with Peat's mom and her friend Pat, and we bought many strange and divers things, including some sashimi ahi that I'm going to make up for Peat when he gets home from work. They also gave us two uni for free, so we have to figure out what to do with them.

Anyway, i'm off to make some tamago and make the most of what's left of my weekend. I hope you all enjoy yours!

20090805

Get Rid of your Paper Assets and Buy Silver!

I've recently gotten a little freaked out by predictions coming down to us from the web bots at the ALTA project. I never paid a whole lot of attention to this before, but after listening to an interview with George Ure and Clif - a couple of days ago, i've delved a little deeper, and their science is sound, if a little quantum. I figured i'd give it a little time and wait for their first "time marker" that they mentioned on the program, which is that some weather-related or geological event - say, a hurricane, earthquake, volcano, etc. - would occur on August 3rd or 4th.

On July 31st, George Ure mentioned on his website - urbansurvival.com - that it would be more specifically an earthquake, possibly 6.0 in a populated area, or 7.0 in an unpopulated area. Right on schedule, around lunch time on August 3rd, there was a 6.9 earthquake off the coast of Baja California.

I'm not going to get all wack-job survivalist, here, but after looking around at their other predictions for the upcoming year, i think it's not a bad idea to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. According to George and Clif:

August 22nd the market will peak. That will be the end of the economic upswing. Sell sell sell!

Around mid-September the market will start to drop rapidly.

October 25th something (or things) really bad is going to happen. This might include (but is not limited to):
  • Swine flu or other pandemic will mutate into something really evilly nasty fatal.
  • WHO may impose restrictions on air travel in an attempt to contain the pandemic.
  • Israel will attack Iran. This will be incalculably bad. Nuclear fallout kind of bad.
  • The market goes from dropping rapidly to just plain disintegrating.
...and it looks worse and worse as time goes by. Stock market "SuperCrash" in March/April. Revolution in North Korea. Food shortages in the winter of 2010 that are going to start to hit home here in the US (in a way that might finally make us pay attention, anyway).

Anyway, we'll see how it plays out. I'm really curious to see how things solidify as we approach the above dates as the linguistic data becomes more clear, but in the meantime, it's probably not a bad idea to start turning your paper assets into solid metal - silver in particular is supposed to take quite an upswing over the next year; gold not as much.

Fun times!