…and we’re back, again.

The server that I’ve had my blog on has been a bit expensive to run.  I really should look into getting a hosted server, but for the time-being, this is being hosted at home.  In theory, I have complete control over my system for now, so I have that going for me…

Work: I’m a Team Lead, and that’s a Good Thing™.  I have my SANS certification for GCUX, also a Good Thing.  I’m currently working on adding ITIL Foundations certifications as well.

Play: I’m back to playing WoW.  I have to say that Blizzard has finally done something good with the Warlords of Draenor expansion.  This seems to have a little of something for everyone.  Wife has her raids, I have other quests that I can do that are different, challenging, and at least a little interesting.  Outside of that, I am also playing Ingress.  I’m on the Enlightened team.  If you want more information than that, you’ll have to PM me.  😉

 

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The more things change…

I’ve been busy on several fronts.

Work:  There were changes in the structure of Teams at work and I was tapped for a promotion.  The dust from that still hasn’t settled, but generally it looks good.  I’ve been asked to get SANS training, so I’ve got course material on the way.  I’ll discuss that more when I’ve passed the exam.

Home: While having a ceiling light replaced, it was discovered that there was a fault in the way it was wired.  This apparently resulted in surges going to another room in the apartment (not a Good Thing), but it was neutralized for the time-being, until such time as it is figured out.  In the mean-time, we’re down one socket in one room and a ceiling light in another.  Inconvenient, but at least it’s not a serious fire hazard now.

Play: I’ve stopped playing WoW and Star Wars for pretty-much the same reason: I got bored of playing alone.  I like questing (when the quests aren’t just re-hashes of the same things over and over) and I tend to read what’s being said by the NPCs.  I don’t like to raid so the more complicated dungeons/flash points are out of the question.  Between my play style and my dislike for raids, that means that my wife doesn’t play those games with me.  It doesn’t help that her computer bought the farm, probably because of the electrical issue mentioned above.  At any rate, I’m down to playing and scripting in Second Life, which is fine with me.  That’s something that is completely doable all by myself, and if I am in the mood to chat, I know places in-game where I can find people to talk to.

All told, things are going well.  I can’t complain.  All I need to do now is figure out how to make time for all the things I like to do.  :)

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….and we’re back.

This summer has been a bit crazy, to put it nicely.  It is done, and I’m happy about that.

The system is back up and has been updated, so the next thing is to see how things go forward from here.

There are a lot of things to write about, I think, but that will come in time.  😀

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What’s in the queue?

I’ve been working on getting IPv6 working at the ol’ Homestead and I’ve gotten it to work. I’ll be posting about that soon, once I can organize my thoughts into a convenient “howto” for any of you that may be feeling a bit industrious.  (The fact that many corporations and ISPs are actually beginning to support IPv6 this year is a big reason to be thinking about it.)

I’ve been playing Minecraft a lot lately.  If you aren’t familiar with this game, it’s something that might be worth looking into, especially if you like games where you can explore and make things.  Yes, everything is made of blocks.  It’s supposed to be that way.

I’m also working on figuring out why comments are disabled on posts.  That was not my doing, not intentionally anyway, and anything I’ve found as a potential solution thus far has not been a lot of help.  Just know that I’m working on it.

 

[EDIT: Playing Grammar Police on myself, I fixed the second paragraph.]

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Fedora updates

This is a little embarrassing.  I went through all the trouble of updating my server from Fedora 14 to Fedora 16, and I forgot to check to see if the database that this blog depends on was still running.  It wasn’t.  :\

Now I will have to poke around to find out why the init scripts aren’t there anymore, and see what I can do about replacing them.  Hrm.

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The real heroes

This afternoon, my “baby” sister called to chat. We didn’t talk long, but she felt the need to thank me for having served in our nation’s military. I served four years active duty in the United States Navy and another 12 years in the United States Naval Reserves.

I thought about my experiences in the military, which generally aren’t all that different from those shared by anyone else that has served. I thought about the things I learned and how I grew up in that time.

I appreciate it when people stop to thank me (and anyone else that has served) for my service, but I think that the people that really deserve the “thanks” often go unrecognized.

As a member of the military, one knows that one’s life is on the line almost every day. If one is fortunate one serves in peace-time, when the American military presence is intended to be a deterrent against attacks. There are those whose lives are in danger every single day, simply by virtue of what they do.

Ten years ago, I saw the world as I knew it change. A relatively small group of men commandeered four airliners and set out to show the world that they meant business. I will never really understand what makes terrorists do what they do. To me, they are worse than school bullies that pick on the biggest kid they can, just to prove they’re “tough”. In reality they are self-serving, little dogs who think that they have to resort to violence to make a point. If they kill people in the process, so much the better. This is not about them.

Two of the four jets found their marks in Lower Manhattan, New York City. More than 2,700 people lost their lives when the World Trade Center towers collapsed. A third went to the Pentagon where about 184 were killed, and the fourth was brought down shy of its target in the woods of Shanksville, PA by courageous passengers, where all 40 passengers died. This last flight had either the White House or the US Capitol building as its target.

The heroes I have in mind that deserve more credit than they get are the men and women who serve in Police departments, Fire Departments, and as EMTs. In New York alone, 411 of the casualties were members of the NYPD, Port Authority Police Department, and FDNY or were EMTs. When New York was struck, policemen and firefighters from around the world came to New York to help do what had to be done.

These people risk their lives every day trying to save the lives of other people, and often all they get are relatively meager incomes for their trouble.

When I was in the Navy, I had to learn shipboard firefighting. I learned how to handle different types of fires. I learned the different tools at my disposal. I learned that each person on the team has a purpose, and when that team works together, it goes a long way to making sure everyone is safe. What I learned is but a small part of what your neighborhood firefighter has to know every single day.

Remember your firefighters and police officers. Thank them for what they do. They are the real heroes.

[Edit: corrected typo in paragraph eight.]

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A bit of down-time

Some may be wondering why I haven’t posted anything for the last few months.  I can assure you that this blog hasn’t gone anywhere, and it’s not likely to any time soon.

What happened is simple: The server this blog is on was offline due to an electrical storm.  We had a stretch of about three days where they came every night.  Rather than risk losing the hardware to something like that, the system was off.  For various reasons (like being uncertain if the server and the AC would play nice) the system stayed offline.

You may be thinking, “Well, why not have it hosted elsewhere and let them worry about electrical issues?”  Rest assured, I did actually consider it.  I decided against it because of “trust”: I don’t really trust something like this on servers I cannot control.  There have been one too many cases where someone’s blog was taken down because someone else was “offended” or otherwise concerned (usually for reasons of a political nature).  I know that some things I might post may be touchy to some people.  I believe that I am the only one that should be responsible for controlling my thoughts, nobody else.

Normally, I don’t fancy myself much of a “control freak”, but I have to plant my foot down on this one.  I know that what I think is not going to go well with everyone, and that’s okay with me.  I figure what I write here is intended to give readers something to think about, to encourage a civil discourse.  If I’m wrong (and it can happen), a peaceable understanding can be attained.  If I’m correct (and that can happen too), so much the better.  :)

The long and the short of it (the “tldr”, if you will) is that if you are trying to read the blog and cannot get here, then don’t worry about it too much.  The server is probably offline for a little while.  It will be brought up again soon.  If you really need to read what I’ve got here, you probably know how to contact me and you are encouraged to do so.  :)

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The Cat and his habits

I would expect most animals to have some sort of internal clock to tell them when to do something like feed themselves.  Not our cat.

Our cat, Oscar, has learned that he gets fed about the time the kids are out the door for school and when the kids are put to bed for the night.  The funny (annoying?) thing is that as soon as either of these events happens he’s wrapping himself around our legs as if to remind us that it is time for him to eat…  …and oh, by the way, did I mention it’s time to eat?  Heaven forbid he should have to wait a few minutes because he’d waste away to nothing.

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Separation of Church and State

A lot of people, especially Liberals, like to bring up the concept of “Separation of Church and State” and talk about it as though it were a Constitutional edict giving them clearance to prevent people of faith (usually Christians) from public displays of what they believe (Christmas celebrations, Easter/Resurrection Sunday, etc).  They have attempted to strong-arm the Constitution to their end, specifically to use the government to minimize with an eye to eradicate religious discussion in a public forum.  Sadly, many are ignorant of what the Constitution even says, let alone the origin of the “separation of church and state” idea.

It wasn’t the “separation of church and state” that the American forefathers were trying to prevent: they were actually trying to prevent the government from “picking favorites”, supporting one religion to the exclusion of all others.

Many of the people that came to the Colonies were fleeing religious persecution, a fact that the Founding Fathers were well-aware, regardless of their individual beliefs.  The people were being treated as second-class citizens at best, based on what they believed.  If they didn’t belong to the Roman Catholic Church, they were punished or mistreated in many European countries.  If they were not members of the Church of England, they were not permitted (by law) to own property.   They hoped that by coming to the Colonies, their lives could be changed for the better.

Besides all this, the “separation of church and state” argument of the Liberals is trash.  The term “separation of church and state” does not exist in the Constitution, nor does it exist in the First Amendment (as is commonly believed).  It actually stemmed from a written concern by a Baptist group in Danbury, Connecticut.  In his response written in 1802, Thomas Jefferson attempted to put the minds of the Danbury Baptist association at rest, stressing that there should be a “wall of separation” between the church and state, that being that the state would stay out of the affairs of the church, not the other way around.

Don’t let people fool you: the Constitution is still relevant, and it is the greatest document in the Western World.  The government of the United States needs to be reclaimed by the people the best way possible: through the ballot box.

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American Czars Overthrown

According to an article at Politico, the House of Representatives voted to de-fund the “czars” appointed by the president.  The vote was 249-179.  For those not in-the-know, these “czars” are glorified senior advisers, people who manage to wield a good amount of power, though they have not been screened by Congress.   They also are not held accountable to anyone (except, perhaps, the president) for their actions.

Interestingly enough, Representative Barney Franks (D-MA) had an opinion on the amendment on the table.  He welcomed Republicans’ use of what he called “gender neutral” language to describe the administration’s appointees.

“A large number of the czars would have been called czarinas in the old days,” Frank said. “So I appreciate the fact that we’ve gotten past sex stereotyping of people.”

Seriously?  A feminized form of a word is a “sex stereotype”?  Of all the things I could imagine a Congressman saying, I would have placed that at the bottom of the list of important talking points.  If he really wants to chime in on the discussion, I think he should stick to the advantages or disadvantages of having these so-called “czars” in Washington.

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