Horror and the literate Vulpine

Had a good Saturday. Woke up way early, not originally the plan but I had weird dreams and I just wanted to be out of that weirdness. Did the usual Saturday foo (store run, other chores). I was going to leave early to go raid a bookstore and be social with friends, but I ended up dealing with a fiddly database server, so I didn’t leave til later than I planned. Not a huge deal, just felt a tad off. Finally did leave, and headed up to the flagship Half Price Books in Dallas. Sold a few DVDs back, as much to clear up space as anything else, besides a few bucks I got a 10% off coupon for my purchases. Useful that. I only picked up 3 books, a bibliography of Lovecraft (it’s the older edition, so it’s out of date on stuff but still useful), a book called ‘The Magick Bookshop’, stories about an occult bookshop, and ‘Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult’, which I’ve had on my esoterica wishlist for years. Should make for some interesting reading. Well, not the bibliography, that’s going to be more for digging into randomly.

After the book raid, I went to visit some friends and watch movies. We ended up shockingly watching horror flicks, well 2 of us did, while a certain raptor played Minecraft. Worked out well, got some puppy time, got to talk geek, was good. Had an amusing conversation with J about horror around the world, and we came to the realization that I’ve seen a LOT of horror movies from all over. I could rattle off theme differences between Spanish, Italian and French horror, or how Korean horror is what happens when you take Japanese and Hong Kong horror movies, and turn it up to 11. But I couldn’t tell you about Vietnamese horror cinema at all, or names for Indian horror flicks (though I’m pretty sure Bollywood has some, and they have musical numbers). We also agreed that the world needs more Middle Eastern horror, and there’s probably a ton of African movie makers who will scare the pants off people. (Not just South Africa, but Nigeria and others). So much horror, so little time.

Came home a while ago, watching more horror (Hammer Films). Book time in a while, then hopefully getting to sleep in. A fox can dream at least.

New Year’s Post

Well, it’s 2017. New year started, old year in the rearview mirror. The old year wasn’t that horrid for me, minus the holiday near meltdown. Job has been good, and good for my coping skills. I wasn’t nearly as social as usual this last year, nor have I done as much computer geekery as I used to. Still keeping up with the books and bad movies though.

As is traditional for New Years Day, I’ve spent today doing the things I want to have happen more of in the new year. So bad movies, buying books, petting cats (doing critter care for some friends that are out of town), sleeping in, and computer geeking. Hoping it leads to good and nifty things.

Last night I went to a comic/geek convention, didn’t do much besides some shopping, hanging out with friends, and attempting to go to the ‘parties’ in the evening. Figured out that I’ve gotten old. At one I wanted to yell ‘Turn that crap down’, and at the VIP party I listened to a decent cover band get mangled by lousy sound engineering. I cut out around 11, to avoid the drunks in Dallas, but they were already out in force. Came home, watched the year roll over. I did manage to find the only Cthulhu stuff in the ‘con. (A new dice game, that had cool tshirts, and a tshirt vendor who had a HPL shirt that I didn’t own), and a movie producer who aims to recreate 50’s B movies. So I had to get two. Was fun, but not really my kind of ‘con. Nothing on the tracks caught my attention, and most everything was comics or Harry Potter. Oh well, not every convention can be the HPLFF.

Really no plans for tonight, besides continuing with my superstition. I’m off work tomorrow, and I’ll spend most of it doing the chores I’m not doing today (laundry, cleaning, store run) Then it’s back to work. I don’t have any New Years resolutions, I’m weird and do resolutions around my Spawning Day.

So that’s about it. I may do a review of 2016, or I may not. All depends on what I get done tomorrow, and how many tentacles I’m left with, along with how much I want to dive into the last year. Might be better to just aim forward. But on that note, hope it’s a good year to everyone. Talk to you later.

Weekend Computer Foo

And now we talk about computer foo. last night and today has been more geekery than I’ve done in a while. Dagon’s new monitor is much of the shiny. I’ve switched to using multiple virtual desktops, scattering various apps that I can reach with with key combos. Here are the desktops and what they’re used for.

  • Primus: Web browser and terminal windows, with Alpine (mail), CenterIM5 (IM client), one terminal with a screen session linked to every VM and physical box here at Château Innsmouth, and one for text editing (like this entry).
  • Secondus: Five larger terminal windows in a pattern. Good for sysadmin or coding or stuff. Larger = less eye strain.
  • Teritus: VirtualBox and VMs. This is the problem child, as I start working on a desktop VM, and forget about it with flipping back and forth.
  • Quartus: Misc stuff.

    As I said, it’s easy to lose stuff in this setup, but I’m thinking I’ll get used to it over time. The new video card in Dagon can support 2 of the big monitors, and I can double up on those cards, so I could upgrade to a 3 monitor rig in the future. Also, Hydra has DP ports as well, so I could split it, 2 on Dagon, 1 on Hydra. Doubt I’ll do that anytime soon though, both for cost and the fact the Desk of Doom ™ isn’t sturdy or large enough. So, in the future. Maybe after I pay off the trip to Portland.

    Besides getting things updated and rebooted all the systems. Tried to upgrade Dagon to the latest stable kernel, but no dice, I couldn’t make the new monitor play nice, and after 3 or 4 reboots and driver swaps I gave up for now. Hydra and Nyogtha came up fine after general maintenance and reboots, so did the VMs. I then turned my attention to my mini server Shoggoth, which has been offline for a week or so. On advice from my IT guy (yes I have a friend that does most of my hardware foo. I can do it soso, or he can do it right, and he’s worth every cent. If you’re in DFW, and need a geek, let me know) I popped out the drive, tried to see if it would get past the weird lock. It did. So I put the drive back in, and it booted fine. So I updated it, rebooted, came up fine. So, thinking the SSHD drive in Shoggoth might be flaking, I enabled SMARTD to monitor the drive. So we’ll see if it was a fluke or a drive giving up the ghost.

    Now I’m updating the assorted desktop VMs, and fiddling around with other stuff. Been a productive day geekwise. But soon it will be time to wind down and head to bed.

  • A Very Good Day

    Well, this Friday was a good day. Work was pretty good, even with a very long conf call. My mad skills at system monitoring came in handy, as I figured out a quick organization fix for Cacti, and came up with a ‘in theory’ way under Nagios to alert for processes that A. use 95% of the CPU, and B. last more than 30 min. And I could do it with the built in plugins. I’ve never DIY’d my own Nagios scripts before, but between my brainmeats and Nagios having good documentation it was a 5 min to have a plan. And since I’m working on a Nagios setup here at Château Innsmouth, I’ll test it over the weekend before testing it more on the devel and stage networks at work.

    I also volunteered to help a fellow Lovecraftian in Hungary with a thesis he’s doing on HP Lovecraft. He had a ebook copy of Joshi’s epic ‘I Am Providence’, and had about a dozen citations, but he was worried his committee would argue that the citations didn’t match the physical page numbers (which I’ve heard of before). So, I have the 1st edition hardbacks, so he sent me a list of quotations and their chapters and general location, and I verified the page numbers (which were way different than the ebook). Didn’t take long, maybe 30 min. Felt good to help another adept of Grandpa Theobald. *gains 2d6% in Library Research*

    I’ve also watched some really bad horror movies. I’ll post one of the reviews later (I did some of my best writing on Facebook ranting about this flick). I’ve moved on to ‘The Descent’, one of my favorites. Ubuntu released 16.04 yesterday, so I’m updating my test VMs. Tomorrow is hermit day, with a side of organizing, and possibly a marathon of the ‘Hellraiser’ flicks (random idea I had). I’ve got to move Dagon and Shoggoth onto the UPSes, as the last power blip showed me I oopsed there. There will probably also be a labeling fest, along with more VM updating and the aforementioned Nagios experimenting. Probably will be other experimenting, I have a list. Sunday is back to normal, laundry and TV and Amythest time. Then back to work. I have a meeting/lunch with my recruiter on…Wednesday? I definitely have to give my recruiter company this, they keep up with their placed minions. I also have a bunch of work to do, still playing catch up from being sick, and I keep coming up with ideas on how to do things, that lead to me getting assigned the deployment of said ideas. But, instead of freaking out (well for long) I take it as the challenge it’s intended as and go with it. So I expect the next 3 months to be interesting, and not in the Chinese curse sense of the word.

    So that’s the most of the state of the fox. I’m still feeling fairly meh physically. Worst allergies ever. Mood is better, then again given how low I swung for a while, I kind of have to be better. Looking forward to a number of book pre-orders and future geeking and well, stuff. Catch you all later. *waves a tentacle*

    Not as much computer stuff

    Been a decent week. Well minus the massive allergy attack at the begining. New level of allergies, I sneezed myself off a conf call. Work is still decent. Even when it’s stressful it’s not too stressful. Went with Amythest to see ‘The Finest Hours’, fun little seafaring/disaster flick. Especially at the cheap theater.

    Weekend has been good, hung out with Amythest watching bad movies last night. Came home fairly early for a Friday, and went to bed with a book before too long. Got up this morning, started the great migration. Did some chores, got dinner from Freebirds, and have been watching a bunch of horror flicks. Nice fun movies.

    Still working on the computer foo. I’ve mostly got everything working the way I want, currently migrating VMs to the new box. Need to also find my notes to how I had the posting to wordpress via Vim setup. Then I’ll probably leave the old dagon up and running to copy the things I haven’t thought of over, as that always seems to happen. Still, much less painful that some other builds of mine.

    Tomorrow I’ve got more chores to deal with, and probably more importing of VMs. And probably more cheesy horror movies. I do love them so. That’s about all for today, tune in tomorrow for more rambles probably. *waves a tentacle*

    8 bells and all’s well

    I’m a geek. This should surprise noone reading this. I’m also a nut for all things nautical. After watching a movie with a phantom ship and it’s bell, I came up with the idea of having my computer alert me every hour, with a bell. Basically a reminder to get up every now and again and move, so I don’t end up with more back issues. Simple enough, add a cron entry of

    0 * * * * /usr/bin/play /home/vulpine/.wavs/Dagon-Bell.wav

    Simple…but not historically accurate. Traditionally, a bell was rung every half hour in a watch, up to 8 times. Watches started at midnight, and ran 4 hours. So if you started at midnight, and heard 5 bells, you’d know it was 2:30am and you still had 90 min to go. Simple enough

    So I started pondering how I could write a script to do this…and after a few minutes of pondering counts and calls and such, I went for the not so elegant, but easy process of writing 8 seperate crontab entries, one for each bell count. So it looks as such.

    30 0,4,8,12,16,20 * * * /usr/bin/mplayer -loop 1 /home/vulpine/.wavs/Dagon-Bell.wav
    00 1,5,9,13,17,21 * * * /usr/bin/mplayer -loop 2 /home/vulpine/.wavs/Dagon-Bell.wav
    30 1,5,9,13,17,21 * * * /usr/bin/mplayer -loop 3 /home/vulpine/.wavs/Dagon-Bell.wav
    00 2,6,10,14,18,22 * * * /usr/bin/mplayer -loop 4 /home/vulpine/.wavs/Dagon-Bell.wav
    30 2,6,10,14,18,22 * * * /usr/bin/mplayer -loop 5 /home/vulpine/.wavs/Dagon-Bell.wav
    00 3,7,11,15,19,23 * * * /usr/bin/mplayer -loop 6 /home/vulpine/.wavs/Dagon-Bell.wav
    30 3,7,11,15,19,23 * * * /usr/bin/mplayer -loop 7 /home/vulpine/.wavs/Dagon-Bell.wav
    00 0,4,8,12,16,20 * * * /usr/bin/mplayer -loop 8 /home/vulpine/.wavs/Dagon-Bell.wav

    I used mplayer over play or other apps because it was the easiest to find a command to play X repeates (the -loop). The cron times match up with when each bell set would ring, so 8 lines and about 3 min vs Cthulhu knows how long to write a single script that was called every 30 min, and kept a self count. Given my druthers, and my career of writing these kind of kludges because I had some crazy file foo dumped on my desk, and I didn’t want to manually tweak the data, I prefer the 3 min kludge.

    If you’re bored, and want your computer to be all Age of Sail, all need is the above crontab entries (modified for your home directory path, and if mplayer is located somewhere else in your directory structure), the bell sound (there’s a ton of free ones out there, the one I use can be grabbed here), and well a Unix based install with mplayer installed. Mac users, this probably will work for you, though you may need some other player program. Windows users, sorry…while it shouldn’t be hard to replicate this, I have no clue off the top of my head. Good luck?

    If you don’t have your bells and watches memorized, here’s a handy guide.

    Time as marked by the bells

    Mid Morning Forenoon Afternoon Dogs First
    0030 – 1 bell 0430 – 1 bell 0830 – 1 bell 1230 – 1 bell 1630 – 1 bell 2030 – 1 bell
    0100 – 2 bells 0500 – 2 bells 0900 – 2 bells 1300 – 2 bells 1700 – 2 bells 2100 – 2 bells
    0130 – 3 bells 0530 – 3 bells 0930 – 3 bells 1330 – 3 bells 1730 – 3 bells 2130 – 3 bells
    0200 – 4 bells 0600 – 4 bells 1000 – 4 bells 1400 – 4 bells 1800 – 4 bells 2200 – 4 bells
    0230 – 5 bells 0630 – 5 bells 1030 – 5 bells 1430 – 5 bells 1830 – 5 bells 2230 – 5 bells
    0300 – 6 bells 0700 – 6 bells 1100 – 6 bells 1500 – 6 bells 1900 – 6 bells 2300 – 6 bells
    0330 – 7 bells 0730 – 7 bells 1130 – 7 bells 1530 – 7 bells 1930 – 7 bells 2330 – 7 bells
    0400 – 8 bells** 0800 – 8 bells 1200 – 8 bells 1600 – 8 bells 2000 – 8 bells 2400 – 8 bells
    (Guide cheerfully commandeered from the US Navy website, original site is at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/questions/bells.html)

    So that’s how I’ve spent a bit of New Year’s Day. Let me know how it works for you, or if you have questions, or you spot a glaring bug. Ciao.

    Fixing Fedora

    Well I finally figured out how to fix the X.org issue with running Fedora 23 under VirtualBox, where you can’t install the vbox driver for video. This limits the VM to a max of 1024×768. The fix is to downgrade the x.org drivers to F22’s version.

    sudo dnf –showduplicates –allowerasing –releasever=22 downgrade xorg-x11-server-Xorg

    This will roll the packages back. Note, after you do this, dnf/yum upgrade will reinstall the F23 packages. To prevent this, edit /etc/dnf/dnf.conf and add the following line at the end\


    Then reinstall the VirtualBox drivers as usual, and you should get your normal options for screen size back. Eventually there will be an update for VirtualBox to fix this, but until then we’ve got this.

    Gettting into Git

    If you’re new to the using of Git, I highly recommend Git Immersion. It’s about 50 pages going though the basics of Git. I’ve been using git to get files for years, but never got into the minutia of things, since I never had changes to push back to the repository (end user, not developer). But since every job posting I’ve seen in the last 6 months has Git, or something similar in practice. as part of the desired skillset, I decided I needed to learn to do more than ‘git pull’. So if you want to grok git, this is the place to do it.