Yesterday my car decided to celebrate the coming of the merry month of May.

While driving home in the evening, the horn started hooting uncontrollably, on and off and more on and more on and maybe off... Very annoying. Even more annoying is the fact that the horn is not coupled to the ignition, so it kept on randomly hooting after I switched off the engine.

It took me about five frantic minutes to determine that no, I won't find the correct fuse (if there even is one for the horn) anytime soon, yes, hitting the horn pad on the steering wheel has a 50% chance of shutting the sucker up for a few seconds, and finally...blissful silence, when I disconnected the horn. Fortunately on this Fart Falcon the horn is easily accessible once you open the bonnet and even has a convenient quick-disconnect plug close by.

Looks like the foam in the switch pad has rotten away. sigh. Well, at least it didn't fail when I wasn't around; my neighbours would have been real happy with a randomly braying horn during the night...until the battery would have died.

[ published on Tue 01.05.2007 14:44 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Upgrading a sparc64 SMP box from 2.4.32 (solid but doesn't have a number of features the newer libc needs) to has taken me since 18:00, Wednesday.

2.6 on UltraSparcs is...painful. The iptables recent module kernel oopses immediately on load, some other iptables mods are simply not available and still others have been buggy for years, the md subsystem doesn't properly deal with the older meta info, the LVM subsystem definitely fucks up the older lvm metainfo badly (in the end I had to nix one vg hard, via dd across its pvs, and restore it from backup), booting into a ripped-apart mirror doesn't work anymore unless lots of extra kernel params are given etc. etc.

fuck Fuck FUCK! damn all-the-world's-an-intel weenies.

sleep now.

[ published on Thu 26.04.2007 03:51 | filed in still-not-king | ]

why are there days when nothing seems to work out? When you end up in the arvo/evening with a big fat zero on the day's tally? And why do I have oh so many of these days? I'm so sick of this...

[ published on Sun 11.03.2007 18:28 | filed in still-not-king | ]

I can't break eggs cleanly; always end up with some mess outside the pan and/or some eggshell shards in the food.

That's annoying, and maybe one day some genetics wiz might find a way to preprogram a break line into chicken eggs. Maybe. (BTW, the German Sollbruchstelle sounds better and more precise)

Why do I bother with undead not-even-proto-chickens? The last four weeks I've had loads of them, in a (successful) attempt at a low-carb diet (Quite easy in a country like this were meat is good and cheap). This is to get my waistline back in shape and the weight down by a few kilos.

After some startup time it has worked fine, I'm down about 6 kgs (now at 83, 186cm and genetically not meant to look slim) and the flotation ring around the hips is mostly gone. That's the same weight I had a good 12 years ago, and I'm happy.

I've also changed my eating habits substantially, and that way the weight level should be ok to hold. My dad might be proud that his (then un-appreciated) admonitions work Just Fine -- with a delay of almost 30 years: when we were small, he tended to gruffly remind us to chew every bite 30+ times and to put the fork down between bites. My sisters and I were never badly wolfing down our food, but still he felt that he had to rebuke us gruffly. Didn't work then, works fine now.

[ published on Sun 25.02.2007 21:39 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Finally, I'm about to graduate with a (hard-earned) PhD; but as expected I'm boycotting/avoiding the ceremony on the 3.2. because neither do I want to wear a dumbo hat and a batman cape in public, nor do I value speeches by our First Apes; such political shenanigans are only good for frothing rage, brain rot and stomach ulcers and are avoided by hardcore technologists like me for ood reasons.

But nevertheless I'm done! The Shiny Paper will be in the (internal) mail soon post-ceremony and thus I've got another title to add to my name.

But I'm hardly proud of that or the title. I am, however, semi-proud of the achievement: I had a totally original idea of my own, I built it into something that works (idea+code) and I showed that and how it works. I'm also somewhat proud of the fact that I managed to convince Manfred Hauswirth, Stefan Conrad and Warren Toomey that what I did was worth a doctorate (as they were my examiners).

But enough drunken rambling. Time to go back to layer zero and fix the pergola on the house and install the whirlybird ventilator and do the committee-mandated painting in ugly colours know, all this other "life" stuff.

[ published on Wed 24.01.2007 22:58 | filed in still-not-king | ]

This was a really shitty year, started crappy and ends the same. And guess what? the next one looks just as bleak as this one, and the one before and so on.

Seven more, then she's 18 and I've fulfilled my parental obligations and can check out without feeling guilty. I hope that she gets rid of her buoyancy aid around the belly before that, and that she can enjoy her life more than I do mine.

[ published on Sun 31.12.2006 12:34 | filed in still-not-king | ]

This weekend illustrates this, um, nicely.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 06.11.2006 10:35 | filed in still-not-king | ]

The weather was...suboptimal this weekend, so I mostly lazed it away. I fixed the over-sensitive smoke detector (recipe before: start toaster, get jolted by the klaxon, run into hallway, unplug the detector's battery...). Soldering a switch in to disconnect the horn was easy, and better than disconnecting the battery (because on replug the beast emits a number of loud screeches so that you know you're not deaf just yet).

Also started working on my latest home improvement project (ha!), which is replacing the sliding cupboard doors in the bedroom and office. The frame has been doctored (because it had a bulkhead in the way), and I've started some woodworking to make Shoji-style door frames; got a new backsaw and a vise, made me a bench hook etc.

But I'm not any good at woodworkingy yet, unfortunately: my level of perfection is mostly on the screw-butt or (at best) half-lap joint level. Yesterday I tried a bridle joint, but it got fucked up pretty badly: too imprecise, mortise too wide, tenon too thin and the cuts/chiselled bits have lousy edges. The reasons are that I have little experience, no table saw, no router (yet...), and that I'm a bit impatient with the tenon saw. Net result: get more (cheap) timber, and ponder the cheap ($80 or so) plunge router kits out there.

But, all in all making sawdust can be quite a bit of fun :-)

[ published on Mon 23.10.2006 11:31 | filed in still-not-king | ]

While life in general is very much on the crap side right now, at least in some things I do prevail against the odds.

click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Mon 09.10.2006 00:45 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Some photos taken while Conny and Barbara were visiting me (End of July - End of August).
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Sun 17.09.2006 00:06 | filed in still-not-king | ]

I've submitted my PhD thesis today. I'm reasonably confident that the examiners won't absolutely destroy it, so normal life (FSVO normal) can now continue.

But why am I not super-elated? Because while my problems have gone down in number with this event, my exwife (and thus our kid) are wading through serious shit at this moment :-(

Their vacation here was pretty good, busy but we've had a lot of fun (and I'll post some pictures in a few days), but now their life in the US is blowing up into their faces big time. First they bought a house in Philadelphia, which was expected to be a renovation job, but it turned out that the renovation required was way beyond their expectations. Of course they ran out of money badly with this discovery. Then they had to move out of their old apartment, but not being able to use the house yet as it's a construction desaster zone right now. So they moved to a place outside town which belongs to relatives of the ex's partner. And latest news as of this morning was that that partner is losing it badly, and has chucked them out onto the street in the middle of the night 8-(

Now I can't do anything to help them from here. But worry I can and do... (There must be some reasonable people out there, but the ex apparently always picks the wrong me, a long time ago).

Sigh. thumbs crossed for B. and C.

[ published on Thu 31.08.2006 16:33 | filed in still-not-king | ]

...merely really busy, so here's a short heads-up. I just gave the second draft of my PhD thesis to my supervisor, final submission is on the 31st; the (ex-)family is currently visiting me and we'll drive to Fraser Island or Sydney tomorrow (not clear yet which first), and things are generally jam-packed. Not a bad situation, mind you, just a bit...much so I don't think I'll be writing anything for this website before the end of the month.

[ published on Tue 15.08.2006 11:53 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Nothing ever changes, it seems.

 2006_07_06-winzig2.jpg 2006_07_01-me.jpg

I miss my dummy.

 2006_07_06-winzig3.jpg 2006_07_06-winzig1.jpg  2006_07_06-nasen1.jpg  2006_07_06-nasen2.jpg 2006_07_06-me-gixer.jpg
[ published on Thu 06.07.2006 15:10 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Yesterday was my birthday. It rained.
Quite a few people sent their wishes, and I'm happy about that.

My kid didn't and I'm not happy about that.

[ published on Sat 24.06.2006 15:43 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Looks like the gods in charge of the weather also don't believe in queens, or rather believe in first soaking and then blow-drying.

Saturday it rained/drizzled/rained/blew, and Sunday it simply howled. Nevertheless we had a nice weekend - just a camping weekend without flying.

[ published on Tue 13.06.2006 18:31 | filed in still-not-king | ]

I believe neither in god nor any sodding queen, but whatever it takes to get a public holiday! (coming Monday)

I and a group of Like-Minded Loonies are going out to killarney tomorrow afternoon, for a nice cold, maybe flyable long weekend. Unfortunately the forecast is dreary enough that the invocation above seems justified...unless god also doesn't believe in queens.

[ published on Fri 09.06.2006 01:00 | filed in still-not-king | ]

...I wouldn't write anything for the blog anymore, but it seems I can't help sending out those superfluous, uninteresting, nondescript ramblings.

Ah well.

Off to Killarney in a few minutes, for a weekend of camping, flying and Gl├╝hwein. More when I'm back.

[ published on Fri 19.05.2006 12:57 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Tomorrow I'll fly to Austria, for just under two weeks. Updates will be even more sparse than usual. Half of me is looking forward to the visit (but certainly not the trip), half of me wants to be back and done with it already. Sigh.

[ published on Mon 17.04.2006 00:46 | filed in still-not-king | ]

The last few weeks were character forming in Calvin's sense.

I have a new desktop at work: our boxes are leased, and every two years I have to move everything to a new box with new problems - as it's always the cheapest Dell crap you can buy. The assorted annoyances one has to put up with until the thing works reliably make me really hate the new hardware... this time it only needed one home-soldered Y power splitter, one ethernet card without slot bracket, a full move to the X11 suite, a new kernel with loads of "new improved" shite enabled, and about two very long evenings to get things working (and I even convinced the crap i965 "graphics" chip on board to display at 1504x1128 on my 20" Sun CRT...).

My serverhousing box is still dead, the spare Ultra1 here has dumped its PSU, and I'm very much looking forward to the hardware twiddling in three weeks in Vienna. This is unfortunately not my serverhousing box:


This is my^Wthe Unix Guerilla's new backup-and-assorted-stuff-of-our-choice server. (That's my group of weirdos at work.) I've called the box "pachyderm", as it's got a nice thick-skinned case (and it replaces "elephant"). rho has already threatened me over the name, but I prefer it over his usual theme of female music artists. Getting debian installed and working on that fellow took some work, though: the sarge netinstall cd doesn't have a proper fdisk, only bloody partman, and that has a bug that makes it impossible to produce raid or lvm partitions - which I wanted, TYVM, given the 6x18gb discs. Also, partman is a menu-in-a-menu-after-other-menus-in-various-menus-and-menus-after-menus-followed-by-menus-piece-of-menu-SHITE, which sucks especially when you're working on a 9k6 serial console. I wgot an fdisk binary onto the ramdisk and got cracking (and totally circumvented partman and 50% of the installation procedure, but hey, it worked).

The last two weekends were so-so, the earlier one had a cyclone keep us from flying and this weekend I felt shitty and not in any mood for aerial fun. Rob told me that I didn't miss much, though.

In other news, some dimwit politicians are currently pondering a plan to require ISPs to provide only a violence-and-obscenity filtered Internet. Fortunately, there's voices of reason.

In still other news, I had a very bad day a few days ago, blew my cool in a mail to the flying club people I do infrastructure for, and also bought a few cool/nasty/elitist/geeky tshirts, among others the first one over there.

[ published on Tue 04.04.2006 00:55 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Just finished watching Kieslowski's A Short Film About Killing. Dark. Superb. Bleak. Precise. Heavy. Brilliant.

Polish winters must have a hell of a suicide rate.

[ published on Sat 25.03.2006 01:24 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Friday, Saturday and Sunday: rain and storms. The fence behind my house blew over. Monday morning: clear sunny weather.


[ published on Mon 06.03.2006 10:40 | filed in still-not-king | ]

My last few weeks have been pretty much all like this.
click here for the rest of the story...

[ published on Wed 01.03.2006 14:34 | filed in still-not-king | ]

So what's happened in the last few weeks? Not exactly a lot, I think. The Killarney comp was quite good overall, except that the two days that I had to spend working were the best two...Thursday and Friday we spent at the village pool and one of the local water holes, and on Saturday we got one last task in which was cut short by a thunderstorm on track. I did just a short hop of 7km or so, as I didn't really feel "with it" on that day. The reception night was pretty good fun, and the cleanup the day after wasn't too bad.

So the net result of that week? Poorer by $375, richer by a pair of Crispi Airborne boots (as my old ones had desintegrated irreparably) and richer by a few flights. I now also have a problem, but one that I can easily blame Rhett Rockman for: he and the rest of the MacPara crew did their usual thing and gave away a Local Derby/Young Gun award. And I got it this time (but not exactly for my shiny performance during this comp): a $1000 off a new MacPara wing, good for the next 6 months.

Thanks! and Dammit! at the same time; my current wing is not due for replacement yet, but the new Eden III is really tempting: Tim gave me one for a bit of test flying which I did on the way back from Killarney; I liked it a lot...

Apart from that? the weather has been pretty lousy, I got just an hour of airtime last weekend (now at 129hrs) and the forecast for this weekend isn't promising either. The news all over the world are depressing and indicative of this world not exactly improving. I managed to forget ringing my mother on her birthday (but not my father, for no good reason; their birthdays are just 7 days apart), and nothing has changed regarding my lack of social life.

Apropos social life, flying friends of mine have invited me to a birthday party in Brisbane next weekend; unfortunately it requires dressing up and worse, dressing up following a theme: Dressed To Kill/007. Choices are a) literal interpretation: dress to Kill 007, so I find the crummiest-looking Bond villain and dress down, be grungy and feel out of place, or b) I buy clothes. Both options suck.


I hate buying clothes. I hate dressing up. Dammit.

Apart from that I've got a new wireless access point, which even works mostly (a story on its suckitude is forthcoming, however), and if I'm lucky then tomorrow will see the serverhousing box resurrected; the PSU of the Ultra2 blew, so &rw will plop the disk into a spare Ultra1 until I can scrounge up a PSU...the cheapest source (US$36) becomes painful after factoring in shipping so I'm looking for better options, maybe even a full U2 chassis...I've until the end of April, so no need to hurry just yet.

[ published on Fri 24.02.2006 23:14 | filed in still-not-king | ]

the weather these last few weeks sucked and continues to under-impress: rain, some storms, overcast on the weekends and drizzling. i'm feeling less than chirpy.

this morning my serverhousing box vanished off the net. as the setup with serial consoles will become active in a few days, i can't even find out what happened; let's see how long it takes the isp to power-toggle the thing.

i should do loads of extra work but mostly am too tired after coming home in the evenings with the usual sore throat (4 hours lecturing in freezing labs and lecture rooms). must go buy some clothes but don't want to...must do this and that but don't want to. february is halfway gone and i'm still mentally stuck somewhere in 2005.

i hate all this shit.

[ published on Thu 16.02.2006 14:45 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Watched Krzysztof Kieslowski's Trois Couleurs trilogy recently; what great movies they are! My favourite is Bleu in part because of its music score that I just absolutely adore. Time to find a shop selling the soundtrack cd... Red I found not as interesting, while White is nasty and fun.

[ published on Thu 09.02.2006 14:58 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Today I helped Richard resurrect his dead computer: the connection to the memory modules must have gone bad (occasionally beepbeepbeep on boot, random crashes during the startup sequence). I had scrounged up some spares (old motherboard, some graphics cards, a known-good power supply) and on return home had to put the power supply back to its normal purpose which is to drive my wireless access point (in a somewhat messy setup).

Now I have a wireless non-access point. Because I plugged the fucker in with the polarity reversed, the silly thing is misdesigned to draw 2A at 5V, the leads can sustain that and there is no over-current or polarity protection. Beyond the components going frzzzpop, that is.

And now I have this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side...

[ published on Mon 06.02.2006 20:51 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Killarney flying in the comp: the days wer blown-out, too strong for my liking, and good, respectively. Monday I managed to get a late thermal on a refly five minutes before the launch window closed at 1500 and did 32km (of a task of 75km). Had a big scare some 15 klicks out, with thermal bullets of 6+m/s up throwing me around, then a big full frontal collapse with a stomach-lifting plunge, reinflated fine but violently, and on I went getting chucked around a bit more in 4-5m/s up...I didn't enjoy that at all.

Then either the air got very squirrely overall or I lost my nerves totally, (still don't know which) and things felt going rough and rougher to me. After a screeching eagle close by, another few big whackers and wobbling around in rough crap for another 40 minutes I decided that it's enough and landed. Pretty scared I was...

Tuesday and today I worked. Bah. Planned to drive out to the comp for the remaining three days tonight but I'm too beat: will leave at 0530 tomorrow. Let's see if I enjoy the remaining days better (I very much hope so) and I'll try to give some update on life, the universe and everything when I come back on Sunday.

[ published on Wed 01.02.2006 22:43 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Quote from the windows helldesk droids today at work, in response to my complaint about the "preferred browser" registry entry being locked:

"Firefox should not have been installed onto your citrix session. Unfortunately for various reasons we do not support any other browser other than IE within the citrix environment."

Well, thanks for nothing fellows. Massive brain atrophy is clearly involved with the guy at the supermarket yesterday, who needed about 2-3 seconds per item to scan and bag; I was wondering whether his brain had actually died from lack of oxygen between his very...slow...and.....slower.....breaths.

In other painful news, my luck currently sucks somewhat: somebody cheated me on ebay (for the first time ever), took my $50 and vanished; one of my xmas presents seems to have been lost by the Austrian or the Australian postal services and another xmas present seems to have been lost by the American or the Australian post.

[ published on Tue 24.01.2006 12:35 | filed in still-not-king | ]

The first week of the teaching semester is over, without major gotchas. 2x2 hours of lecturing on Tuesday left me somewhat stunned (and with a throat getting sore) as usual. The weather sucks, rain and/or storms almost every day in the last week or so. My recent switch to wired ethernet at home still produces some TV/FM antenna trouble (unshielded TP), my hiking boots are about to give in (the foam/rubber sole is desintegrating) just before the Killarney comp, my car is about to die as well and I should do a lot of things I've got absolutely no impetus for.

On the positive side I've managed to shed almost three kilos which gets me back closer to the preferred weight level that I left sometime around the trip to .at last September.

[ published on Sat 21.01.2006 14:09 | filed in still-not-king | ]

Just got the word yesterday that my paper for the ARES 2006 conference in Vienna in late April was accepted, and it looks like the bosses will properly pay my registration and airfare. Great!

Less wonderful news is that tomorrow the teaching semester starts again, with me having both my main lectures tomorrow. Ah well. At least I had a good weekend with a fair bit of flying, a short XC flight on Sunday (short due to my own stupid tactical mistake) and a tally of 122.7 hours of airtime. I managed to reach the 120 hours on the very last day of 2005, and roughly kept up my average of 1 hour a week since then.

[ published on Mon 16.01.2006 21:24 | filed in still-not-king | ]

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