The Vulpine Visits the Black Lagoon

Well I got to have a long weekend and a road trip. Took half of Thursday and Friday off to jaunt on down to Austin to see a screening of 'Creature From the Black Lagoon' and meet Mallory O'Meara/ who wrote a book on the creator of the Creature's costume, Milicent Patrick. And while I was down there, I'd do so book hunting. So I rented a car (I have horrible luck with driving between DFW and Austin), and headed down. Drive was fine, the voice in my phone took me on a long loop to avoid I-35 downtown traffic (which is forever a nightmare.) Stayed in my first AirBnB, one of a little cluster of cabins. Nice, cozy, with an attached kitchenette and bathroom. Got settled in, then went out to find some dinner, then to the Alamo Drafthouse for the screening.

First time I've seen 'Creature' on the big screen, and in 3D. I had a less than perfect seat, but that's what I get for waiting til the last minute. Got a bit of a headache from the angle, but it was still a lot of fun to watch. Then Mallory and the guy from 'Birth, Movies, Death' talked about to book, the creature, and Milicent. Along with more general movie making stuff, and women in filmmaking. Then Q&A, including my question about dream remake casting/directing. Then it was time for book signing. Mallory recognized me, nothing like having someone you're a fan of yell out 'Chris, you made it!' Talked about the screening for a few minutes, got my book signed, and walked off grinning. I highly recommend supporting your fellow fanpeople when they're writing a book. It's good karma all around.

Went back to the AirBnB, read for a bit and crashed. Woke up Friday, got stuff organized and myself ready for a day of bookhunting. Raided a bunch of used bookstores, along with visiting Book People. It's been almost 15 years since I visited it, but nothing had really changed. All my usually sections were in the same places, and the 2nd floor smelled like incense. Did some major damage to the bank account, but boy I came home with some goodies. Finally left the Austin area around 1500, drove back up to DFW. No really bad traffic, a few spots of slowdown, but I timed it well. Was home a little after 1900.

So a quick, but fun trip to meet a fellow monster/horror geek, see a classic movie, and add to my book addiction. If that's not a good way to spend a couple of days, I don't know what is.

Wish I was Goin’ Down to Dunwich

Lots of stuff and things lately. Finally finished the Atlassian migration. It does still require work, upgrading things to a supported version that allows me to migrate the next set of Atlassian foo. But that's for another week. Speaking of Carcosa Corp, found out we're offically moving offices to the main set of offices in DFW. Not sure how much it will apply to me, since there's no current plan to move the DC we have. So that's something we need to work out. Move is in the next quarter or two. Looking forward to yet another wild fun of moving offices.

Speaking of moving, it's offical, I'm not moving this year. Too much other stuff going on. Work, timing, my own stress levels, and when the season of hot hits the area. So I signed a 9 month leason (starts May 1st), so I'll be trying to move right after the New year 2020. No idea where I'm going still. Will depend on work, on what I can find, and honestly, where is the best location for access to my favorite book haunts. So instead of moving I'm going to do a major declutter and moving of stuff into storage, and getting rid of things I'll never use or need again. (already have several bags of clothes to go to Goodwill). So hopefully when it comes time to move, I won't be in a huge scramble. We'll see.

Weekend was helping a friend out, managed to get myself majorly dusted, and tweaked my back. So I'm taking it easy tonight, watching movies and taking it easy. Tomorrow is probably chores, assuming I feel like moving around. Then it's another crazy week of work. And that's all I have, and have had for the last couple of hours. So I guess I'll call this a post.

Say Hello to Byatis

I replaced my media player system with a new computer. Shoggoth has worked pretty well over the last few years, but it's been struggling more and more with larger files/bluray encoded files. Since it's a Intel Celeron 1.5 ghz CPU, it's not surprising. So a couple of weeks ago, Woot.com had a deal on a Lenovo M93P Tiny Desktop. Dual core Intel i5, 8 gigs of RAM, and a 128g SSD. So faster drive and a lot more CPU. (same RAM, but I can add another 8 gig stick if needed). So I finally felt up to moving hardware around today. Got everything wired up, well other than using a wireless keyboard and mouse to talk to Byatis. Installed Ubuntu MATE 18.10 (yes the same version I had headaches with upgrading Dagon. But a media system has a lot less moving parts, and other than a couple of goofs requiring a reinstall, the install went smooth. Setup the usual things, big thing was to get VLC installed and tested. There's a few quirks with controlling VLC, but nothing I can't adapt to. Or I can find something to tweak to make it simpler. We'll see.

So here you go, the building of my new media server, Byatis. Oh, if you don't recognize the name, Wikipedia has you covered.

A subject, a subject. My kingdom for a subject!

Well it's almost 3 weeks into the new year. Been a crazy few weeks. Work went from 0 (vacation) to 60 in nothing flat. This weekend was my latest attempt to migration 'The Software in Yellow' (my new nickname for the Atlassian Suite). Things were completed this afternoon, and testing will start tomorrow AM. *crosses all the tentacles*. I'm really sick of dealing with this, hopefully I'll get some kind of break soon from looking at it. We'll see.

Non work stuff, I rolled back the upgrade on Dagon soon after I made the post last time, the new SSD I had failed, so I rushed to plug in the old one. Which solved a number of frustrations. New computer plan is to build a computer new system, install the latest on that. Then transfer stuff from system to system, so I can work out the kinks without having to live through them. My new project though is a new media player system, I'm finding Shoggoth just doesn't have the oomph to deal with some media. So I'm picking up a gently used Lenovo tiny PC, going to throw some flavor of Ubuntu/Debian/Mate on it, and plug that in. Same basic setup, just more power.

Another project is getting pushed back. I had a plan to move when my lease was up this spring. But given how work is, and how the universe has been acting, along with the amount of stuff I need to do before the move, makes me think I just want to push it back one last time. Gives me time to plot, plan and organize. I'm also thinking of getting a storage unit, help clear out some space so I have room to organize easier. Plus I have stuff that I don't want to get rid of, but I don't need on hand all the time. Same with clearing some shelf space. We'll see how that all goes. (I've planned this about a dozen times in the past I think)

Not much else to speak of. This has been sitting open without anything else to type for a long while now. Going to call it a post. Hoping tonight I'll get some decent sleep, and that tomorrow's migration testing goes smooth. I'm also off Monday, which will probably be a hermit and chill day. At least, that's what I hope.

How has Vulpine’s staycation gone ?

Well it's been a mostly relaxing staycation. Spent Tuesday organizing books and moving stuff around. Wednesday was mostly working on the reimage of Dagon, which got frustrating. Have files I need to pull off the old drive, and there's some weird configuration foo I'm not sure how I'm going to fix. I have some ideas, but it's been a long while since I dug this deep into the Linux desktop configs. But nothing is so broken it's not usable, it's just annoying. And if I can deal with Windows 10, I can deal with annoying Linux boxes. I'm definitely not touching Hydra until I absolutely have to. Don't mess with your backup server, just keep it backing up :)

Today I went out, I hadn't left the house since Tuesday. I wasn't feeling too stircrazy, but I wanted to do some book hunting and get some lunch, with a few errands. But my anxiety started to spike up, so I cut things short. I did get one errand done. When I got my new phone, and moved my number off the old Carcosa Corp account, I went with Google Fi vs going back to T-Mobile. And while the service sounded good, and more affordable, in practice my quasi dead zone of an apartment became a full on dead zone for all things cellular. And wifi calling wasn't better. Calls would fail to dial, or drop randomly. Wireless access and GPS was spotty. So after a month or so of that, I gave up, and went back to T-Mobile. Took about 15 min, and things were ported over by the time I got home to install the simcard on the phone. Tested, and much better luck with phone calls. Well, so far. *crosses tentacles*

Tomorrow is...*shrug* See when I wake up what I'm up for. I still have organization I want to do, and there's chores, and I'll be working on computer stuff once the external enclosure shows up. Guess I'll play it by ear, I have a feeling that come Sunday I'll be down in the dumps and dreading the work week. Not that work is so bad, but it's going to be a crazy week of patching, migration, and catching up after the last week. Oh well, that's why I took a week off, to hopefully recharge my tentacles.

So that's the state of the fox. Other than the anxiety today, it's been a pretty good brainmeats week. More good sleep than not. Watched a bunch of decent movies, done some reading, been planning stuff I need to do this year. Cthulhu grant me plenty of tentacles and some good luck.

Staycation and thoughts for 2019

I'm officially on vacation, which is pretty much going to be a staycation. I ran out of PTO early last year, and with the stress levels going on in my life, I decided that for the New Year I was going to take a few days off. Technically I was oncall for today, but nothing came up. I spent today indulging my New Year's Day superstition. I hung out with friends, met and petted cats, made silly comments, raided a bookstore, listened to a Lovecraftian radio play, and now doing a little last minute geeking and moving watching. The idea is, what I do on NYD, sets a theme for the rest of the year. So definitely hoping for a good new year.

For the staycation, due to possible inclement weather the next couple of days, I'm probably going to stay in at Château Innsmouth. I want to do a fresh install of Dagon the linux box, and I want to spend some time organizing the piles of books around the place. Plus I have some stuff to put together. I may do some wandering around later in the week, or start looking at apartments for Château Innsmouth 2.0. Or I may just take it all easy, catch up on my reading. We'll just see.

Plans for the new year/resolutions? Don't really have any yet, I have some ideas. A trip or two, moving out of the place I've been in 15 years. I also want to do something creative, I want to do a 'secret history' of something Lovecraftian. My original idea was Innsmouth/Deep Ones, but Ruthanna Emrys has it covered, and it would be hard not to borrow some of her ideas. So I'm thinking I may do a version of the Church of Starry Wisdom, starting with the 'official disbanding' in 1877 in Providence. (Will also have to avoid treading on Doug Wynne's tentacles, but his version of the CSW is unique enough that I think I'd have less issues, probably would throw in a nod to his stories though, because well, Doug rocks. And of course, I could always create my own. Zhothaqquah worshipers in the Big Apple, a modern Cthulhu cult, who knows. Not writing a story or novel, more like writing a guide ala an anthropology or sociological study. Or for an RPG. Who knows, but it could be fun to mash up a few of my favorite things.

So yeah, that's the beginning of 2019 for me.

The Year in Review

By Dagon's scaly scrotum, this has been a rollercoaster of a year. Brainmeats have tried their best to break me repeatedly, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, had major eye changes that were bloody expensive (my glasses ain't cheap, and my vision keeps changing as my body adapts to life without blood that tastes like molasses. Lost some people. Re-found some others. Made a bunch of new friends, and met more than a few online friends in real life. Which I think balances off in the end. I turned 46, which really doesn't mean much to me. I feel anywhere from 20-30something depending on what I have to get done, and how I feel about it. My allergies have been easier to deal with, yay for a year and change of needles.

Work has been a good chunk of why it's been a rollercoaster. I've gone through 4 managers, company being bought out without a guarantee of future employment, spent 2 months trying not to panic, while also being useful. Finally got an official offer with the new company, with my transition date having been 12/23. Nothing like waiting til the last minute. I've become a SME (Subject Matter Expert) for a software I loathe. Which means I'll be doing more with it in 2019. *eyeroll* New job = similar benefits, same pay, same seniority and a bit more PTO. So we'll see how things go in 2019.

I made 3 trips this year, Providence in Feb, Innsmouth in June (well technically Gloucester and nearby areas), and Portland in October. Providence was me geeking out over being in Grandpa Theobald's town, and meeting people via StokerCon. Definitely want to go back. Innsmouth was a kind of spur of the moment trip, spent a long weekend wandering around an area I've studied for years. I also managed to get a sail on a schooner around Cape Ann, which was probably the ultimate OMG of the year. Though getting to dip my fins into the Atlantic was a close second. Portland was my second trip to the HPLFF, and it was as much fun as the first. Nothing like being surrounded by a small horde of fellow Lovecraftians, and knowing that everyone you were near you could find _something_ to talk about. And some people I ended up talking to about bloody near everything. All 3 trips were solos, I think that's the best for me traveling. I have friends who know how to squeeze every last minute of seeing things, and have a bloody good time doing that. But I, I like to have plans, but I'm constantly rearranging things, taking side trips, deciding to just sit with a book and read, etc. Which would drive my more focused friends nuts. Luckily, my anxiety about new things and strange people seems to go on vacation when I go on vacation.

I've read an oodle of books this year. Couldn't tell you what my favorite was. Same with movies, though I can probably say that 'Black Panther' was one of the top 3. I've expanded my interests some in history, Victorian/ Georgian England, Renaissance Europe in general. Still a fanatical Lovecraftian, as my groaning bookshelves can attest. I really haven't done anything fancy with the computers, I think I'm mostly at the point where I have things that 'just work', and I really don't want to mess with that. I did pick up a NAS, and created a monster sized array for storage. I have some things I want to do, but I don't really want to spend the bucks for it. Especially given my book buying habits.

So that's my 2018 in a nutshell. I know I'm missing a ton of stuff. The fact I'm not blogging much compared to previous years is not helping. Maybe I'll figure out a way to do it better next year. Speaking of next year, here's to surviving 2019, and may it not suck as often as 2018 did.

An Innsmouth Thanksgiving

Well it's Thanksgiving here in the US. My usual yearly plan was changed kind of at the last minute, and I decided that I'd do a hermit holiday. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays I have a ton of mixed feelings about, was very much a me and the parents holiday. After my uterine sibling got married and moved out, me and the folks stopped doing the traditional dinner in lieu of reservations at a place called 'The Milleridge Inn' out on Long Island. Even after we moved to Texas, it was still eating out most of the time. Even infected Amythest's clan with the idea a few years. But it always was a holiday that involved having spare tentacles ready, and anxiety meds. So when this year because a DIY event, I kind of ran with the idea of staying home. I did get several invites. (Thanks Strongbow and the Raptor Badger clan). But a day of tasty heat-and-eat meats and snacks sounded better. So here I'm hear with three different kinds of sausage, eggs, some chicken, bread, cheese and even a tiny (bad for me) lemon pie. I joked at the beginning about having Thanksgiving Ala Ancient Rome, and I really did kind of pull it off. No dormice, but I'm not the upper crust. First course is chicken soup, which isn't traditional Roman (They started every big meal with eggs, and ended with fruit. Thus the phrase 'Eggs to Apples' compared to our 'Soup to Nuts').

I'm wearing a tshirt I got with some of the famous man-eaters of horror fiction around the thanksgiving table. Which set the movie theme for today. Currently watching the 2nd of The Hills Have Eyes original flicks (I watched the first before stating the post.) Later will be one of the 'Hannibal' series (at least), one or more of the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' flicks, 'Return of the Living Dead' and 'Day of the Dead', which covers all the characters on my shirt, with the exception of a C.H.U.D., but I recently watched that movie and it doesn't sound all that appealing to rewatch. Plus he's hiding under the table, guess he's shy.

No real other plans for today, I have some stuff I'd like to get done this weekend. New drive for Dagon, so I can do an fresh install of Ubuntu 18.10, but still be able to flip to the old drive in case of problem. I'm also going to a friend's orphan shindig Saturday night. I'll only know a couple of people there, but as I was told 'It's a gathering of introverts' so things should be fine. Tomorrow there will be people in the office working but I'll be staying at home, unless there's a crisis. The only leaving of Château Innsmouth is maybe to go raid a Half Price Books or 3, they're running a 20% everything sale. I also want to stop my an office supply store for canned air, since it's been a dog's age since I cleaned out Dagon. I want to also spend some time cleaning out clutter, I have access to an SUV to haul things out with, so that will be helpful.

So that's my Thanksgiving in a nutshell. Cannibals, sausages, chilling out. I do have to leave home for a little bit, critter care, but that's it. Hope everyone is having a happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate, and a good Thursday/Friday if you don't.

Château Innsmouth 2.0

Rather than review yet another crazy week, I thought I'd get some ideas on (virtual) paper about what I want in a new place. Not moving anytime soon, my lease isn't up til March. But I'm still daydreaming of what I want in a new place.

The problem with the current Château Innsmouth is that it's laid out organically, and there isn't really enough room to reorganize. Plus the apartment has features that use space badly, like a bar area, and a fireplace/ mantle. Plus, as a crazed book collector, I want more room for bookcases. So here's my ideas.

A 2 bedroom (or one bedroom with a study) apartment/duplex/condo. The usual bedroom, bathroom, kitchen stuff. If possible a garden tub for soaking, and washer/dryer so doing laundry doesn't require extra tentacles to leave the place. All pretty mundane more or less. Hardwood/tile floors if possible, easier to clean and less dust. Don't really care about appliances, as long as they work well and I have room in the kitchen to do stuff. More than one closet would be nice.

The fun stuff starts in the living room area. Usually that's the biggest room in the place, and for mine it will become the library. Walls of bookcase, as tall as I can get/reasonably afford, covering most/all of the wall space. Somewhere in there will be the reading nook, comfy chair, lamp, fan, etc. Possibly by a window, if I don't just cover them all up with bookcases. Half height bookshelves making an island in the middle maybe, possibly with a table top to display some of my collection of weird knickknacks. No TV or couch or other standard living room stuff, I'm not one for entertaining. Maybe another couple of chairs instead. If there's a dining room, it will pretty much be an extension of the living room. (or possibly act as a study depending on size and location.

The other bedroom/den/etc, I'll set that up as my study. Will probably be the larger of the rooms. I look at bedrooms a lot like the ancient Romans did, it's a place to sleep and keep stuff, not to live in. Find a new, cooler desk (or desks). On one wall will be the TV and a rack for the various server, network and media stuff (some of it will depend on where the demarc for the internet service ends up) My workstations will be on the desk, along with my usual fidgets and favorite Cthulhu items. I'll put together some kind of display cabinet for more of the Mythos stuff. Framed art on the walls (vs randomly adding stuff to the wall with tacks), a few bookshelves (probably half height, to mix art and books). The books in the study are either favorites, extra fancy, or just stuff I like having in arm's reach.

So that's my thoughts about a future home. We'll see how it works out. Join me next time, when I'll probably ramble about a crazy week or two. Ciao.

October’s End

Another crazy week. Eyedoctor says my eyes are fine, and my 'script is the same. So I get to order my usual type of glasses, and get re-used to transition bifocals. Also have to pay a pretty penny for them. Work has been crazy, the new project went from 0 to 60, and I spent most of Friday building things so things can be ready for Monday. And I'm pretty darn sure tomorrow will be a mess, because no plan survives contact with the business users.

I spent yesterday being social. Beta tested a wood pellet powered pizza oven (was good), petted fluffy adorable kitties, figured out my next apartment's bookshelf order. Then I headed over to the other side of the Metroplex and watched movies and chatted about our road trips, and watches movies. Came home about 10pm, read for a while and went to bed. Today was supposed to be going to the Alamo Drafthouse to go see 'Blood from the Mummy's Tomb' and 'The Fog'. But I woke up today after a sad dream, and I just didn't want to leave the house. I back and forthed over it for a while, then right around go time I decided to stay home. Been finishing up watching 'The Haunting of Hill House', which started slow, but went into high gear. Finishing up the series as I write this. Then off to bed with a book.

Hoping this week isn't as crazy as last week's. I can dream at least. Ok, going to call this a post. *waves a tentacle*