Monthly Archives: November, 2008

Thanksgiving Vacation

Drove up to Mom’s house.  We should have arrived between 9-10 hours after we started.  One wrong turn meant we arrived 12 hours after we started1.  On the bright side, it was a pretty drive (at least until it got dark) and we did arrive safely.

It was a good visit and while we were there:

  • enjoyed a bit of Christmas fun at Bronner’s
  • bought a new hat (kind of like this but in a dark grey)
  • picked up a new light fixture for our porch (only $56!)
  • picked up Zoe’s Tale and read it (very likey Mr. Scalzi’s best work yet)
  • some books from the local used book store
  • ate far too much food, including some fresh taffy we picked up in Frankenmuth
  • reminisced with Mom & Aunt Penny (including going through a bunch of old photos)

Ah, good times.  🙂

Update: Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  Friday (day before we came back) got a call from awelkin that our furnace had gone out while we were gone and the indoor temp was down to 40 degrees.  Urk!  Fortunately with some slight prompting, the inestimable Bryon was able to revive it.  My in-laws stopped in to check on it the next day while we were in transit and the house was all nice and warm again.  Wahoo!

1 Versus the 9-10 hours we were expecting the drive to take.

Kubuntu 8.04 to 8.10

Last night I upgraded my home PC from Kubuntu 8.04 to 8.10.  On the one hand, the upgrade went better than any other upgrade ever has.  On the other, I ran into some major problems.


  • The actual upgrade process completed without errors.
  • The computer was successfully upgraded from 8.04 to 8.10 without any manual intervention on my part.
  • Desktop effects (aka compiz) are very fun.  I’d tried them in the past with less than stellar results (too buggy) but they seem much more stable now.
  • The extra buttons on my trackball finally work righ with Firefox under Ubuntu (back/forward).


  • The upgrader removed and did not reinstall the restricted kernel modules.
    • For my less technical readers, basically the upgrade broke both my wireless connection and 3D acceleration.  I could live without the 3D, but this computer relies on wireless to connect to my home network.  Fixing that took a couple of hours of digging around in the log files and using another computer to get the files I needed.  Major headache.
    • I understand why the modules were removed and not installed after the upgrade, but I wish the upgrader had been smart enough to realize I needed them and would have at least downloaded them to be available after I rebooted to complete the install.
  • KDE 4.x is the new default desktop environment for Kubuntu.  KDE 4.x does not play nicely with Nvidia graphics cards.  Like the one in my computer.  Meaning the lag between clicking on a the K menu and the menu popping up was about 2 minutes.  *ugh*  I could disable the Nvidia drivers to get normal performance back but then I’d lose my 3D acceleration.  *sigh*  So I’ve switched over to using Gnome, which will probably make at least one person I know very smug.
  • The network shared drives I had setup to be automatically mounted on every boot are no longer mounting.  Gnome has an easy way to connect to those shares, but I really don’t want to have to mount them manually every time.

Update: For those of you stopping by looking for instructions on how to do this upgrade, you can fine the complete instructions (with screenshots!) over at Ubuntu’s Community Documentation page for IntrepidUpgrades/Kubuntu.

Over The Kitchen Counter

The following events are true.  Names have not been changed to protect the innocent or guilty.

SCENE: McKibben household kitchen, lunch time.  Brats freshly cooked on the Foreman Grill are steaming slightly.  Plates with buns sit in front of the grill. Michelle stands between Mark and the refrigerator.  Michelle spins around, retrieves the ketchup and turns back to Mark.

MARK: “Squirt me baby.”

MICHELLE gives MARK a dirty look.

MICHELLE: “I don’t beat you enough.”


Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive.

Mr. Obama’s election amounted to a national catharsis — a repudiation of a historically unpopular Republican president and his economic and foreign policies, and an embrace of Mr. Obama’s call for a change in the direction and the tone of the country. But it was just as much a strikingly symbolic moment in the evolution of the nation’s fraught racial history, a breakthrough that would have seemed unthinkable just two years ago.

via the New York Times

As I started to type up this great news here, I was watching McCain’s concession speech.  A couple of things about the speech caught my attention…

  • McCain still comes across as a really creepy guy.  Seriously, is he human or an alien wearing a human-suit?
  • While physically a creepy guy, McCain’s words tonight (mostly) seemed reasonable and intelligent.  If he’d gone with a campaign based more on that rather than the campaign of fear, he might have had a chance at winning.
  • Lastly, I swear he must of have been paraphrasing Galaxy Quest in one spot.  He said something like “… never quits, never surrender…” while in Galaxy Quest they said “Never give up. Never surrender.”


Howdy.  Yes, we’re here.  Yes, we’re voting.  Yes, we voted with hope in our hearts and change on our minds.  We’re now looking forward to President Obama taking his office.  Thanks for calling.

In response to Calling Middle America, Are You There?

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