Category Archives: Uncategorized


First, a public service announcement.  When using a reciprocating saw, it is important that you DO NOT put your fingers on the wrong side of the guard.  You might pinch your finger in the mechanism.

This hurts very much bad.

Which leads to ouch number two, the releasing of pressure from the blood blister under the fingernail.  This represents the first time in my life where I have intentionally put a hole in any part of my anatomy.

The gasp made upon perforating the nail was described as “you sucked all the air out of the room”.  And the blood…  MY GOD.

But there is a whole lot less pain.  So I’ve got that going for me.

Why banks are renegotiating mortgages.

As if this hasn’t been said a thousand times already…

The reason banks are willing to renegotiate rather than foreclose is simple:

The housing market has collapsed.  It’s not on it’s way, it’s not teetering.  It’s done.  Stick a fork in it.

The whole thing is right out of Econ 101.  Artificially heightened demand leads to overproduction, which leads to increased inventory, which leads to a collapse in prices when supply outstrips demand.

So the very last thing any bank (that wants to remain in business) wants to do is find itself holding properties.  Especially distressed ones (which many foreclosures are).

The doctrine of “half of something is better than all of nothing” applies.

Timing Belt FAIL!

Three miles from home, car dies.  Won’t turn over, won’t crank. Made a funny whirly noise, and then… nothing.

Called AAA, got towed, got to dealer, guy looks at it for 5 minutes.  “Timing belt, head, head gasket.  At least.”  Because I bought a 2001, it’s all covered under warranty.  Without that, we’d be looking at a nearly totaled car at $5,000 to repair.

And throughout the whole thing, I didn’t lose my temper once.

Why do I freak out over the trivial shit, but my car (literally) blows a gasket, and I don’t?

New Dirtbag Phone Phishing Technique

Well, it seems the phone-spammers have learned a new trick.  I guess enough people stopped answering their phones when the caller ID said “Out of Area” or “Toll Free Call” with what turns out to be a bogus phone number, so they’ve gone one step further.

Now they’re putting bogus names in the caller ID.  For instance, today’s “Do not be alarmed, but this is your last chance for lower interest rates” call.  One “Anderson, James” at (863) 467-8918 called me at 1038 to offer me just that.  To be helpful, I pressed ‘1 to talk to a live agent’.  I asked for James Anderson, and after getting silence in reply, I added that if there is no James Anderson, there is a federal felony being committed.

He promised to not call me.  As if.  Alas, judging by his accent, I’d say he and his entire call center are out of the reach of the federal government.

There’s got to be something we can do to stop this crap.  Oh, I’ve got an idea, HOW ABOUT EVERYONE HANG UP ON THE FUCKERS.

If they aren’t getting what they want (credit card numbers), they’ll find a new tactic that doesn’t involve wasting my time with telephone calls.

The super-quick way to RAID a non-boot linux drive

I’ve found several how-tos on the net for converting a single drive to a raid setup, but they all involved the boot partition, and changing the boot loader, and so on.  I’ve got a hardware RAID setup already for the actual OS, but I wanted a cheap raid for dumping low-usage files (like MP3s and backups) to.  In retrospect, this is kinda obvious, but here it is anyhow.

I already had a 500 GB SATA drive hung off the mainboard (as /dev/sda – important later).  I set it up as a single partition, and used LVM to create four logical volumes (which is completely unimportant, I just wanted to type that.)

So, there’s a way to use LVM to do RAID, but since there was no way to specify which drive the mirror belonged on, I didn’t do it.  I don’t trust it to be sensible about where it puts the mirror, as I have encountered systems where two parts of a RAID volume in LVM were on the same physical drive – which then failed.  It was on HP-UX, which supposedly has the most robust LVM around, and it still didn’t prevent feet from being shot.

Anyhow, these instructions are a modified and mixed version of other stuff you’ll find on the net.  It uses Linux MD for the RAID, and doesn’t require any mucking about in /etc/fstab or the /boot directory.

This assumes that you already have an LVM setup running on your drive, it takes up the whole drive, and you are mirroring to another drive that is the same size.  Yes, it ends up copying the data twice, and there’s some risk of loss during the first copy if you have a hardware failure.  So, if you don’t have a backup of your data and you lose it, don’t come crying to me.  It also assumes that you’ve already got the second drive physically installed but not partitioned.

Without further ado – the method.

Assumptions:  The existing drive is on /dev/sda, the volume group is called VolGroup01, the new drive is recognized as /dev/sdb.

  1. Unmount all the filesystems in the volume group.  If you have them shared with NFS or Samba, you will need to stop those services.
  2. Partition the new drive with
    fdisk /dev/sdb

    Set the partition type to 0xfd (Linux MD Auto).

  3. Using mdadm, create the MD device:
    mdadm -C /dev/md0 -l 1 -n 2 missing /dev/sdb1
  4. Create a physical volume for LVM on the MD device:
    pvcreate /dev/md0
  5. Extend the volume group to the new device:
    vgextend VolGroup01 /dev/md0
  6. Move the physical extents to the new drive:
    pvmove -v /dev/sda1 /dev/md0
  7. Wait a long damn while.
  8. Verify that the extents have moved:
  9. If the Free PE and Total PE numbers do not match on /dev/sda1, something has gone wrong.  I don’t know how to help you at that point, you’re on your own.
  10. Remove the old drive from the volume group:
    vgreduce VolGroup01 /dev/sda
  11. Change the type of the partition on /dev/sda1 to 0xfd:
    fdisk /dev/sda
  12. Initiate the repair of the RAID on md0 by adding the old drive into the mirror as a spare:
    mdadm /dev/md0 -a /dev/sda1
  13. You can re-mount the filesystems at this time (and restart NFS and Samba if you stopped them), although access will be slow while rebuilding.  You can check the status with
    mdadm --detail /dev/md0
  14. When the State from step 13 shows”clean”, you’re now running with full RAID.  Check the man pages for mdadm to see how to get it to inform you if something goes horribly wrong.

Hints – how not to take them

The Republican Party has yet again sent me a survey, which they insist REQUIRES my immedate attention.

So instead of doing what I normally do with documents marked “DO NOT DESTROY” (which is to immediately feed them to my shredder), I read the thing.  And, as always, there are the pages of silly questions where the answers OUGHT to be obvious to a small-government conservative.  And the “Support Reply Form” – which has options for “YES!  I’ll take part in your stupid survey, and here, have some cash too”, “No, I’m not taking part in your survey, but here’s a gob of loot anyhow”, and “I’m not taking part in the survey, and I don’t want to donate, but here’s 11 bucks anyhow to process the survey”

I went with “other” – which is to leave the whole thing blank save for the “additional comments” section which now reads:

Until the Republican Party decides to embrace the principle of smaller government, please refrain from sending me further surveys or requests for donations.  None shall be forthcoming.

Let’s see if they do.  I sincerely doubt it.  Dense as neutronium.

Propaganda Failure

Achewood.  Thank James Lileks for turning me on to this madness.  This particular strip just kinda tweaked something in my memory.  When I was a kid, I’d find these stupid little things “dropped” in innocent little ways – on top of the book return bin at the library, on the ground next to a store.  I didn’t know what they were, or what their purpose was, but I’d read them and laugh and laugh at just how insanely silly they were.

Of course, I now know that they are the work of Jack Chick, and their purpose is to propagandize for “The Lord”.

And upon further reflection, I realize that I can thank Jack Chick for turning me away from religion for good.

How do people put up with dogs?

Case in point – most dogs will lie down wherever the mood strikes.  Not mine.  At least, not for long.  No, for long term lie-downs, it’s one of the dog beds.

Unless, of course, that dog bed is not in precisely the location and condition she wants it in.  Then I get yelled at.

The blanket (which normally goes on the couch) was on the bed.  She’ll lie on the blanket, or the bed, but apparently not both.  Move the blanket, and we get this: