Dinner with Gatermann last night. It’s almost become a ritual: Slingers at the Courtesy Diner, then off to Ted Drewes’ for frozen custard. We didn’t waste any time at Courtesy because the jukebox was especially bad last night. Backstreet Boys or ‘NSync or 98 Degrees were playing when we got in, followed by another one of the boy bands (they all sound the same), followed by Brittney Spears, followed by that really stupid “It Wasn’t Me” song–I’ve forgotten the name of the so-called artist, which is just as well. That was followed up by “All Star” by Smashmouth. Now, when I’m in my car and Smashmouth comes on the radio, I change the station, because that song was really overplayed when it came out, and it never was all that good to begin with. It’s really sad when that band is the best thing you hear all night when you go somewhere. I said something to Gatermann about buying a place like that, then putting nothing but goth on the jukebox. Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, Bauhaus, The Cult, The Cure, The Mission… What else do you need? We could call the place “Death’s Diner” or something. Since diner fare lowers your life expectancy anyway, why not, right?
But back to really overplayed songs… “All Star” was followed with “Cowboy” by Kid Rock. “Well I’ll pack up my bags and then I’ll head out west,” rapped the trash-mouth white boy from the trailer park. I looked at Gatermann. “Whaddya say we head out west and get outta here?” He agreed.
Drewes’ wasn’t especially crowded. There wasn’t much room in the parking lot, but once the weather warms up you normally can’t find a parking spot at all and have to park in the neighborhood.
We went back over to Gatermann’s, planning to play some Railroad Tycoon, since neither of us have played in months, if not over a year. Since he doesn’t have two Windows boxes anymore, I brought my IBM ThinkPad. I configured the network (I use a 192-net with DHCP; Tom uses a 10-net without DHCP),
then I plugged in using the cable from his Linux box, and I got lights on my Xircom PCMCIA NIC, but Tom noticed there weren’t any lights on the hub. I checked my network statistics. It had sent out a bunch of packets but never received any. I tried pinging out and just got timeouts. I re-seated the cable on both sides, then I re-seated the NIC’s dongle. Nothing changed. I wondered if I had a bad port or a bad cable. So I switched ports, to no avail. I powered the hub down and back up, thinking maybe it was confused. Nothing. We didn’t have any extra cables, so I plugged the cable I was using back into his Linux box. The lights on the card lit right up, as did the ports on the hub. I was able to ping too.
At one point I even stopped the card, ejected it, and plugged it back in. That didn’t help either. Tom’s network just didn’t seem to like my Xircom card, though it works great on my LAN.
Then I asked Tom if his hub was a straight 100-megabit hub or a dual-speed 10/100 hub. He said it was straight 100-megabit. That was the problem. My Xircom is a 10-megabit card. I started off with a 10-megabit LAN, then later upgraded to a dual-speed 10/100 hub so I wouldn’t have to replace all my cards. Later I added a four-port switch in the form of a Linksys cable/DSL router.
All of Tom’s cards are dual 10/100 (with the exception of a Kingston PCI NE2000 clone, but that card sits in his Linux router and runs to his DSL modem), so we could have solved the problem with a crossover cable. We’d lose Internet connectivity but that’s not necessary for two-player Railroad Tycoon. Tom has a crossover cable… in Kansas City. I have a crossover cable… at church. Neither was doing us any good.
So we didn’t play any Railroad Tycoon. We went through Tom’s files, found a few old pictures of me, and scanned one of them. The picture on my site right now is me in southern Illinois in May or June 1998. Some day I might even put up a current photo… Tom’s thinking I need to put on a pair of black jeans and a Joy Division t-shirt, then we can go find someplace with a shadowy, industrial feel to it and snap some pictures. He thinks it’d go well with the atmosphere I’ve got here. I tend to agree.
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