is currently experiencing some problems. We are aware of the issue and looking into it. We’ll let you know when we have it fixed.

Update: The problem appears to be related to the plugin I’ve been using to display books and whatnot down the side of the site. I’m still investigating why this started happening and will restore the site to normal once I’ve got it fixed.

After talking with my webhost, we tracked the spike in my bandwidth usage to a group of IP addresses in 64.62.168.*. Upon further investigation, it appears one or more computers in that block of IP addresses is searching for some sort of vulnerability in various online forum software. Since I do run a small forum for a friend; I’ve blocked all access from that group IP addresses. This appears to have stopped the sudden bandwidth spike and kept this site from going down over the weekend.

*blech* I hate being sick. Sure, it’s paid time off from work (121.5 hours of sick time remaining) but I’d rather be feeling good and taking vacation time. I am mostly over the bug I’d caught, but still feeling a bit congested. That being the case, I’m skipping coffee today in favor of hot tea1. This being Wednesday, my preference for tea caused a bit of confusion.

Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup is marry’ Humperdinck in a little less than half an hour. And every Wednesday, myself and a few co-workers head over to the Terrapin to get a cup of real coffee2. Almost without fail, I order a “Grand Canyon” which is 2 shots of espresso, steamed milk, a shot of dark chocolate syrup and a shot of mango syrup. *yum* When I got there today, I picked up their tea menu and Rob (one of the owners) ordered me to put it down. I explained about the congestion and he accepted it, but I wouldn’t say he was happy about it. Then I ordered their Chinese Breakfast tea, as the description sounded similar to the yunnan jig tea I’ve mentioned before. Hot caffeinated beverages acquired, we headed back to the office and I headed back to the mountain of email that had arrived while I’d been out. After clearing out that mess (most of it went straight to the trash), I started/continued testing a problem I’d been working on Friday. I’m still processing the data for that test now, but I’m also starting to wonder if I should have stayed home again.

Today, like Sunday, I woke up feeling better than the day before. The problem is like Sunday, I didn’t stay home. Sunday, Ariesna & I were invited to go to Niabi Zoo over in Illinois with some of her family. It was a fun day and I took quite a few pictures3 but by the end of the day, I was totally wiped out and realized I should have stayed home. Now I’m not wiped out (so far) but I do feel more tired than I should from just sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen. Ah well, not much I can do about that now.

BTW, last night I upgraded Cath‘s site to the current version of WordPress. I was kind of annoyed at how long it took but then most of that time was taken up my crappy ftp client having problems deleting the files for the old version from the webserver. Mind you I was booted into Windows at the time4 which undoubtably was part of the problem. But I did eventually get it done and wouldn’t you know it looks nearly identical to what it did before. I’d call that a good sign for a seamless upgrade, but I’m waiting to hear back from her before I call it a success. So why the upgrade? In part to patch some old security holes and in part because all the new/interesting stuff for WP is happening on the newer versions. This way if she feels like going out and picking a different theme5; it should be trivial to install it.

Anyway, one of the reasons I was annoyed with the amount of time it took was last night also happened to be the season premier for NCIS. I’ve been a fan of this show for a while now, but season 2’s finale was murder. Quite literally, as they killed off one of the NCIS agents. I was very much looking forward to seeing where they’d take the show next, but with upgrading the site and some other things I didn’t get to watch the show as thoroughly as I would have liked. From what I did see, I’m not sure how enjoyable season 3 will be. I don’t care for the new characters they introduced into the NCIS office (Director Jenny Shepard and Agent Ziva David). The romatic background between Gibbs & Shepard could be an interesting subplot but they seem to be pushing it too hard in an episode which should be dealing more directly with the remaining NCIS agents working to find Kate’s killer. And then to make the episode a 2-parter leaving us on another cliff-hanger is distinctly annoying. *sigh* I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they can pull this up with next week’s episode.

1 Next to chicken noodle soup, hot tea works best for clearing up congestion and helping me feel better.
2 The first part of this paragraph is a quote from The Princess Bride. And when I say coffee, I mean flavored espresso.
3 I’ll see about posting some of them later. Incidentally, there was a classic car show being held on the zoo’s premises so don’t be surprised if you see more car than animals photos.
4 I had some work to do that required M$ Word, as OpenOffice Writer couldn’t properly edit the fancy formating in the document (originally created in M$ Word).
5 By perhaps looking through the themes in Alex King’s Theme Browser….

Normally, I’d save this for my weekly posting of links from Pukka but I’m reinstalling some software on my main work PC and am bored out of my skull while I wait for it to complete. So I visited the link from Pukka on another PC and scripted up this battle of titans!

Hmm? Oh yeah, the link is flickrTagFight. The idea is very simple; you input 2 terms and the site returns a seletion of photos from flickr with those tags (as well as telling you how many photos have the tag). The site even provides a handy dropdown box for you to select some of the classic battles of the ages (good vs. evil, cat vs. dog, etc..).

My battle of choice? Read on to find out!

It’s “Sushi vs. Pizza” tonight here on flickrTagDeathMatch!!!! In this corner, known for being all too raw and ready to go. The oriental mad man….. SUSHI! In the opposite corner, known for being hot & greasy. The american favorite…. PIZZA! And the fight has started! BAM! CRASH! ZAP! The images are loading on my screen now! *whew* What a match that was! Folks, if you weren’t here tonight; you’ve missed a battle of epic proportions a cool website. The like of which I’ve not seen in my 20 years covering the ring 10 minutes or so of writing up this silly narrative. Such fury and rage has never before been seen in the ring website! The clashing of heavily muscled bodies, flinging each other about the ring nicely taken photos of artfully prepared sushi and heavily-loaded pizzas all on the same page! And the undisputed champion of tonight’s match is the one, the only SUSHI!1

1 At the time of this writing, Flickr had 6480 photos tagged with Sushi vs. 5100 for Pizza.

When I was in elementary school; I used to get in trouble for talking to the other kids during class. Eventually, this got bad enough that the teacher called my Mom in for a parent-teacher conference to discuss the problem…

Teacher: Mark keeps talking during class and it’s very disruptive.
Mom: When is he doing all this talking?
Teacher: After he finishes his assignment.
Mom: Did you give him something to read?
Teacher: Yes, but he finished that book.
Mom: Did you try giving him another one?
Teacher: Yes, but he finished that one too.
Mom: *glare*
Teacher: In fact, he’s already read all the books in the room.
Mom: Why don’t you get him another one from the library then?
Teacher: I did but he finished it already.
Mom: *glare* Then why don’t you let him go to the library and get another one?
Teacher: Wha…. I can’t do that!?! He could get into all sorts of trouble walking down the hallway.
Mom: *glare* If you let him go to the library; he’ll stop talking in class.

Eventually, I was allowed to walk those halls, wander the shelves of the library and seek out new books to read. As Mom predicted, once I had something to read; I was quiet in class. This is a habit that has stuck with me over the years and I ended up spending much of my youth in school & public libraries. I bring this up today because for the first time in a long time; I went down to CPL and checked out some books. This sudden trip to my local public library was prompted by their advertising of an adult summer reading program. The basic idea is you have to read 6 books, turn in a log and then you’ll be entered to win a gift certificate to a book store. I never could turn down free books; so I decided to go sign up2.

As I wandered around the library looking for some books to read; I felt a sense of nostalgia and loss. There were entire summers in my youth were I barely went anywhere else besides the library. These days, the rarity is when I do go. I miss those fabled days of yesteryear when life was simple and I could relax with a book in my hand all summer long. *sigh*

So why haven’t I been going? Partly because I’m an ornery cuss who doesn’t like having to wait and if the library doesn’t have the next book in a series I’m reading; it irks me. Partly because I can afford to buy more books for myself than I could when I was younger. Having my own copy of a book means I can read it whenever I like 24/7/3653 and the copy of the book I’m reading is likely to be in better condition (plus it’ll stay that way). *shrug* Not sure what else I have to say, except that I hope to be making visits to my public library more often. It’ll let me relive parts of my past (and beat some of this summer heat).

1 For some reason, employers don’t like it when you read books all day instead of testing their software.
2 Besides, money has been a bit tighter of late and borrowing books from the library is cheap entertainment. 😀
3 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (366 in a leap year).