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That wasn’t the Sunday I had planned

I was hoping that by now I would be upgraded to WordPress, the successor to the b2 blogging program that I use, and that I would have a running DietLinux box on some system, and that I’d be coming back to you with some cool tricks you can do with a Knoppix CD.
I’m 0 for 3.

WordPress is up and running inside my firewall, and there are some nice things about it, but if I move, I lose some stuff. Such as? Most of the code I had Steve write for me won’t run under WordPress. No recent comments, no scoring whatsoever, and searching gives you the posts, rather than links to the posts, which could be deadly if you searched for the word “the.”

Seeing the entries right away when you do a search or hit a category link is fine on blogs that don’t have a lot of entries, but when I have 1,200+ of them, that’s bad. It’s better to return titles with links to the entries.

What do I gain? The ability to make entries and not publish them just yet. The ability to close entries to comments. Movable Type-compatible pingbacks and trackbacks. In a future version, multiple categories per post. That’s all worth a lot.

So I’ll move. Not just this weekend, sadly.

A big chunk of the day went to fixing Gatermann’s web server. The nice thing about Linux is you never have to reboot it. (If you run Debian, you can even upgrade across versions without having to reboot.) The bad thing about Linux is that since you never have to reboot it, if you power it down, you really don’t have much way of knowing if the system’s going to come back up. After jumping through way too many hoops, we got the thing booted with a rescue disk, and when I looked at it, I couldn’t figure out how the system ever booted the first time. For one thing, I couldn’t find a kernel. Obviously at some point in this system’s life, something went horribly, horribly wrong.

Nothing we could think of would repair it, so we ended up archiving all the important stuff like /etc, then wiped and reinstalled. I’m sure if we’d persisted, we could have brought it back to life, but from the time he got here to the time I started reinstalling, three CDs had played on my stereo. I can install Debian in 15 minutes on a fast system, and 35 minutes on a slowpoke.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad or upset or anything. I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to fix it in 10 minutes though. But then I remember that two of those CDs that played during that timeframe were by The Cure. If two hours straight of The Cure doesn’t make you feel a a little down on yourself, nothing will.

But I’ll have to give Bob and his revolving door of bandmates credit for making me think about it. There was a time when I would have given almost anything to be the biggest Unix guru in St. Louis. That’s over. These days system wizardry is a means to an end. It pays me enough money to give me a house in a middle-class neighborhood, and a car that’s practical yet draws looks, and leaves enough left over to do nice things for people. Although the job can be demanding, I have more free time than Dad ever had. I mean, I found out this morning that three of my friends have started a band and I got to hear a very early mix of their CD. I can get excited, because I’ve got enough time to at the very least go see them. And if they need someone to write some propaganda for them, I can do that.

After dinner, I re-tackled the WordPress project, but that part of my brain’s just fried. I had to laugh at a question Steve asked me in e-mail. He asked why weekends take more out of him than the workweek. I know the answer to that one. Since we’re low-tier aristocrats, we’ve always got stuff that needs to be done. And the stuff around the house can very easily be more draining than the stuff we do for 40 hours a week. And when the workweek gets to be too much, you just call up a friend and take a long lunch–make up the time at the end of the day after everyone else has left and the office is quiet–and talk about home ownership and other low-tier aristocratic things to get your mind off work.

So as much as I’d love to go find some vexing question and solve it and then turn it over to Google to direct people with the question to my answer, I just don’t have it in me. Not today. And thinking about work to try to escape the drains of low-tier aristocracy seems, well, sick.

A Peter Gabriel CD and a book would be really good right about now.

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8 thoughts on “That wasn’t the Sunday I had planned”

  1. Ummm… No kernel? Even I can understand how that could be a problem.

    FWIW: weekends are the same out here…

  2. Hi Dave,

    Low Tier Aristocrat made me do a double take. I’m not so sure I would go that far yet… My wife and I did not get our first (and hopefully one and only) house until I was 35 but I never thought of that as, in this country, “low tier aristocrat”. More of middle class. Relative to many other countries our near poverty people would make that appelation I’m sure.

    Of course, you probably read much of the same I.T. trade mags I do, being in a related field, more or less (I am an I.S. Auditor), and I can certanly agree that if trends in the U.S. persist in the manner they have been going and are likely to continue, it will truly be an “aristocrat” of sorts that owns a house.

    I’m just not so sure I’d go that far just yet in this country.

    Further thoughts?

    Looking forward to hearing about your Knoppix experiments, I just downloaded it and plan on getting it to boot on a laptop (Dell Latitude about 2.5 years old).



  3. I stole the phrase “low-tier aristocracy.” I was sharing a Web site with Steve DeLassus, talking about how that site puts mine to shame in some ways, and Jacques Pierre Cousteau Bouillaibaise Neuveau Riche Coupure Ongle D’orteil le Raunche de la Stenche chimed in, “Of course. Her site promotes music. Yours promotes low-tier aristocracy.”

    But compared to a lot of the things I’ve seen, and not just in Belle Glade, Florida, but even in the neighborhood around where I work, “low-tier aristocrat” seems more apt than “middle class.”

    Even if Stinky the Arrogant meant it as an insult.

  4. I see that I will have to more careful in my future *private* conversations with “honorable” Scottish barbarians. It appears that the blatant sarcasm with which I said “aristocracy” has eluded David, and he has surmised a woeful parvenu status for himself. That was not an insult, but an example of humor; I almost cleave my tongue clean off when I call your *brother* an “aristocrat”. “Low-tier” still applies, of course.

  5. I recently saved an old 486sx laptop from being thrown away, and I was wondering if you knew of a decent linux distro that might work on it. I’m not expecting to be running X on a 486, but I know that there were linux distros available back in the days of the 486.

    Also, I don’t know how familiar you are with this, but I wanted to get your impressions of the linux distro at

  6. Once DietLinux has an automated installer, it’ll be great for a 486. Debian 2.2 would probably be acceptable on a 486, as long as it has enough memory. You could probably even run X as long as you stuck to lightweight apps, such as the Sylpheed mail client and the Dillo web browser.

    And lnx-bbc is great. I’ve used it a few times.

  7. Dave,
    We need more of Jacques Pierre Cousteau Vermouth Bouillabaisse le Raunche de la Stenche. He is brilliant and entertaining.
    Does he have his own blog?
    If not, could you get him to post a few articles on life?

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