July 14th, 2004

The wilds of Malvern.

Let's see. I got on a plane to Philadelphia last thursday, spent friday and saturday in New York City (home of the $13 burger/fries/soda combo), and am now hanging out with my friends Eric and Cathy. Tomorrow evening, my father's picking me up and I may get to see my brother across the river (it's his birthday tomrrow). However, not having a car with me this time does reduce my ability to plan this kind of thing a bit. On friday I get to see etain and crew, who are coming over to Eric's to paint miniatures.

Still feeling a bit overwhelmed, actually. Naturally, I got sick as soon as I got out of Austin, and am just now recovering. (I drank the water in NYC, which was only slightly more expensive than the hot chocolate at Trianon in Austin, which comes with wireless internet. The whole of the northeast is a big dead zone as far as wireless goes, if I'd known this I'd have remembered to bring my USB to ethernet adapter. To get wireless Eric and I had to go buy a new wireless hub. We've now given up on linksys hardware by the way, he's had three of them. This one's a Belkin, which was programmed by morons. The port forwarding doesn't work from behind the firewall, so I can't fetch my email from landley.net normally while I'm using it, because it's tunneled through ssh and the ssh port forwarding from the router only works from the DSL side, not from the wireless side. Sigh. But hopefully the hardware won't blow out after six months this time...)

We're getting lots of work done. Nothing on the new book yet, of course, but we're getting to it. We got a huge stack of paper documents reviewed in NYC. We got Eric's recent "free software" vs "open source" occurrence count statistics paper reviewed. We got lots of system administration stuff done. (Eric made the mistake of upgrading all household computers to Fedora Core 2. I got Cathy's sound card working again. And the scanner, eventually. I have no IDEA why the kde login manager was picking a 1 pixel font size based on a file in a user's home directory (which it shouldn't even have been looking at), but this wasn't actually a new problem. The new problem was that I don't know how KDE managed to switch the X server into 1280x1024 mode during login when that wasn't an option listed in the xorg.conf config file. (There's incestuous knowledge of internals going on SOMEWHERE in there.) Yes, I got it to stop doing it, but a chain saw and duct tape were involved. I still haven't tackled the saga of Eric's expensive multi-function "Sound Blaster Live" card; he has to borrow his wife's computer to listen to music at the moment. The last time the Sound Blaster Live stopped working, we had a friend with a _voltmeter_ out here poking at it. If I had a car with me, we'd have gone out and bought a cheap plastic $9 sound card and he would be able to use his big speakers right now. But when he got the SBLive working again last time, he gave the cheap plastic sound card I'd gotten him away...

There is a bar thing within walking distance called "The Flying Pig". We went there for lunch, and had shepherd's pie. It's kind of like a beef pot pie, with mashed potatoes instead of pastry. Not bad. Their Diet Coke tasted like an industrial chemical accident, though. (More so than usual, I mean.) For dinner we all went to Pizzaria Uno, were I had "beef tips" (and, as always, chicken wings). This evolved into a discussion of cow tipping. Now I can see sneaking into a farmer's field at 3am and leaving a handfull of quarters on the back of sleeeping cow. My problem is I can't figure out how to calculate 15%. (Of what? Might be worth a try, otherwise...)

The check to Keenspot for Linucon advertising has finally been mailed off (yay!). Now I need to mail Armadillocon their check, and I think I owe $20 to something to... Apollocon, was it? It's in my back email somewhere. (I got Linucon checks, you see. And some day, I'll stop saying "Penguicon" when I mean "Linucon". But I got checks for the account. When I get back to Austin on the 22nd, I have to make travel arrangements. But first, I plan to make up for lost time with fadethecat.)