The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Back in the saddle

| November 23, 2013

So, I’ve been away for a bit, at first because I’ve been legitimately busy with harvest activities:

  • Making applesauce from a pile of apples we got from my father-in-law’s apple trees (up to 21 qts so far).
  • It’s deer season! I’m about finished processing the first one, but there are two more in the fridge.

However, I also ended up having to change hosting providers. I moved from, where I’d been a customer for somewhere along the lines of 10 years, because the mailing list portion of their hosting had been down for three weeks, and their tech support was not being very responsive.

In the end, I decided it was better to just run the whole thing myself, and then I could set it up exactly as I wanted (I’m picky), so I ended up just singing up for a Virtual Private Server at Linode, which came recommended by one of my gaming buddies. Their base package, at $20/month, is $5/month cheaper than what I was paying before. On top of that, I get more flexibility and (hopefully) more stability (once I get everything set up the way that I want). I’ve already had to contact Linode’s tech support once, and found their ticket system to be excellent and their customer service to be prompt and helpful.

One of the things that came out of this is that I’ve finally sanitized all my system install notes, which actually go all the way back to my Red Hat 7.3 install notes from 2002. I’ve kept all of those for posterity. However, for those who are likely to be configuring their own mail/web/etc. server, the Linode server install instructions are likely of the most used to you. It is actually comprised of a pile of different bits and pieces borrowed from work server projects, my house Amahi install, and my standard system install. Then there was some interesting bits that I set up for the first time on the Linode install, and then fed back to work. So, it’s all a big feedback loop.

I also been playing around with a light box and, once I get it right, I hope to be posting some more pictures of minis. I also have a pile of things in the back of my brain that I want to write about, I just need to have time to do it.

Anyway, in the meantime, here’s a picture of a couple of critters on the back porch, on a warm October day.

Diesel and Heidi on the back porch

Diesel and Heidi on the back porch

Random (live) critterpics….

| October 12, 2013

Got your tail!

Got your tail!

Rowr! I'm fierce!

Rowr! I’m fierce!



Socks has two modes - this one, and causing trouble.

Socks has two modes – this one, and causing trouble.

And here’s some video of socks and diesel.

If you listen very carefully, she does her cute “chirp” right at the beginning. I try to get her to do it later in the video (hence why I keep saying “Socks” in that odd pitch – she seems to respond to that better), but she’s being shy.

Sarah McLachlan antidote post

| December 28, 2010

They keep running those sad ASPCA commercials during the Christmas movies while I’m trying to paint tanks. So, here are some happy critter pictures. (more…)

Christmas goings-on, and a bit of catching up…

| December 28, 2010

  • Lizzy got me a copy of Back to the Future, of which we played a couple games this morning. It is quite a good game. It is by the same guys who did Fluxx, which I also recommend.

  • My mother in law got me a copy of Munchkin Quest, which we played last night. Also, a very good game. The board is dynamic, being played as you explore, with the tiles being double-sided, so each game ends up being different.

  • After a month with our new stove:

    New Stove

    New Stove

    I have to say that it is quite wonderful. The center griddle is the perfect side for cooking grilled cheese or steaks for two, and the larger burners are excellent for high-heat applications (bringing things to a boil, stir fry, etc.). The temperature regulation is also vastly superior to the old range, as it doesn’t have the cycle on/cycle off problem which plagues electric stoves. As we now have a consistent heat source, I also picked up a Lodge 5qt dutch oven for use in frying applications. We’ve used it to make a batch of superlative chicken wings.

  • Diesel got a Christmas Goose:

    Diesel's Christmas Goose

    Diesel's Christmas Goose

    Diesel's Christmas Goose

    Diesel's Christmas Goose

    He’s been being very good this year, and has adjusted well to life here. We’ve been bringing him around to Liz’s folks’ house, where he is happy to just be with people and hang out. He is a very good dog.

  • We’ve been experimenting with growing herbs and greens indoors during the winter. We have lettuce and typicak kitchen herbs (parsley, basil, etc.)

    Indoor Garden

    Indoor Garden

    This has led to us growing Borage, as it came in a collection of herbs used for tea. It does make a nice tea (not unlike a hybrid of cucumber and watermelon) and the younger leaves are nice in a salad. The older ones end up getting a little prickly/hairy.

  • Happy Christmas Tree:

    Christmas Tree

    Christmas Tree

    Christmas Tree

    Christmas Tree

    This year, we got some of these plastic Christmas balls. Cats knocking off cheap glass ornaments is one thing – they’re typically smart enough to not step on the glass. However, puppy paws? Not so good. These end up essentially being large ping-pong balls. So, they just bounce. Definitely a good decision.

  • This year, Liz and I did most of our shopping on Amazon during black Friday. Therefore, this scene greeted her one day upon her return home from work:
    Pile of parcels

    Pile of parcels

Christmas Miracle

| December 23, 2010

So, I’m driving to work this morning, and bang a right heading down Eastline towards work.

The car in front of me slows. There is a dog in the other lane. Beautiful all white American Bulldog. Just hanging out, sniffing the breeze. The car in front of me carefully goes around the dog, and continues on.

I stop, and lean on the horn.

There is an oncoming car.

I’m still on the horn.

The car is still coming.

The car hits the dog. The dog goes under, yelps, whines. At least the front wheel goes over the dog – the back one might have too, I didn’t see.

The car continues on.

I pull over, expecting to pull the crash blanket, bundle the dog, and rush him to the vet that’s a mile up the street.

Except there is no dog.

I ask the lady who pulled over behind me where the dog went.

It went towards the house. I can hear the lady telling her dogs to come in.

I go up the drive and tell her that her white dog was just hit by a car. She looks surprised. Through the glass door, I see the dog, barking and jumping, because there are people in her yard.

The dog’s owner looks like she doesn’t believe me, but the other lady has followed me and corroborates my story.

There are three possible explanations for this:

  1. That is one tough dog.
  2. Saturns have no mass.
  3. Christmas miracle.

Now, there is some credence to the low-mass Saturn theory. The car in question was a mid ’90’s Saturn, of the SL2 type, maroon in color. The listed curb weight for the car is 2440 lbs – a full 400lbs lighter than my Golf, which is actually a smaller car.. and it had serious rust problems, so it’s likely lighter than that 2440 at this point.

However, I’m going on Christmas miracle.

Oh, and regarding the other driver.

Physics dictates to me that there’s no way he was going 55 when he hit the dog. However, there was no squeal of tires, and I didn’t see the nose on the car drop. Maybe you didn’t see the dog. Inattentiveness, I can forgive. Maybe your brakes were crap. Poor vehicle maintenance, I can forgive.

But you didn’t stop. You kept driving.

Mister Maroon Saturn, I hope you die cold and alone, unloved and empty.

For everyone else, hug your loved ones. Let them know how much you love them. Play fetch with your doggies, snuggle with your kitties, and have a Merry Christmas.

Fall update

| September 21, 2010

Generator is all serviced and tested.

Some pics behind the cut… (more…)

We has a doggie

| August 2, 2010

Diesel the dog

Diesel the dog

He’s such a good puppy – all he wants to do is be with people, play fetch, and splash in the water. We’ve got a dog house on order ($115, shipped), and already got him a 4′ diameter pool to splash in. His daytime pen is about 50′ x 200′ or so. Happy doggie.