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Ubuntu 10.4 LTS

Ubuntu 10.4 TLS with Shutter
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

The computer is doing several things right now. Email is up. A file browser is up. A picture, describing these processes is up. An archive is open, awaiting the WordPress 3.0.5 update. Filezilla is up, downloading the most recent copy of this blog. Evolution is up, restored, and checking messages – all mail filters and calendar functions working. Gadmin-Rsync is merging external hard-drive music onto this limited hard-drive.

The joys of our technological age.

I’d show you that picture that’s waiting, but I don’t have the correct write permissions on my wp-content folder. Olivia, I can hear you thinking, “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah,” in Charlie Brown fashion. Bear with me, this is a tech report.

I don’t even have Zemanta installed to connect with my flickr to by-pass these permissions and give suggestions to older posts where I discuss my computer woes. Alas, the old fashioned way will have to do tonight.

Some time ago, almost a year and a half ago, I got rid of Windows and opted for Ubuntu. I am the tech person in my family. Upgrades are my decision, and I teach others how to cope. I troubleshoot problems, I figure out what’s wrong, I backup data. That is my role because that is my skill. Sure, I know more than enough to be dangerous, but not by much. So, this morning, when I was cleaning out unused programs, I also deleted something that depended on something else. I got rid of a dependency. One I shouldn’t have.

Suddenly, my menues weren’t working, I couldn’t move windows, and the computer was moving even slower than before.

It’s time, I thought. It’s time to do what I did for a friend: Boot it, nuke it, redo.

Ubuntu 10.4 TLS, the background.
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I was told sometime ago that computers can benefit from that annual purge. I haven’t done it on this, even upgrading from the networked version to a higher Ubuntu version, on the hope that Linux will power over all. The problem, I fear though, with this set up is the inconsistent hardware. Proprietary video cards, old mother boards, and certainly not enough USB ports. But, alas, we’re cheap, and we’re not buying new, so this will have to do.

Almost four hours after Duke was inserted, we had a clean slate. The first try of the install failed because it had nearly-Four-year-old finger smudges. Once those were cleared away, we had a clean install, well mostly – I think some of those hardware errors have reared their ugly head stating some I/O Error on sd0 (the default name, I believe, assigned to our hard-drive). But, it restarted fine, and the rest of the evening in between dinner, bedtime, and laundry folding, has been getting the programs I do use installed, and then the file migration.

Thank you, WordPress for adding to the computer restart day. Once I get that situated, maybe I can show that picture.

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Writing About Writers Block

Green Bay Packers logo
Image via Wikipedia

I am not in the mood to write tonight. I am not in the mood to reflect. I am not in the mood to ponder. I am not in the mood to imagine. I am sleepy and still sick. I look at the dishes that need to be done, the food that needs to be put away, and I’m not in the mood for any of it.

I am excited the Green Bay Packers won. I am amazed it was against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 31-25. I lived in Pittsburgh for a little bit. 3 months. Plum Buro. Texas something lane. I worked in West Mifflin. I worked, selling books door-to-door. I learned all three professional teams, in Pittsburgh, have the same colors: red, gold, white, black.

But, I am a Yooper, born and raised – and that means my allegiance will always lie with the Packers. I lived on the Wisconsin Border when I was in kindergarten. We lived in the Upper Peninsula until I was 7 years old. We visited every year. I have a cousin who lives in Green Bay. My brother and his family visit Green Bay as the nearest “big city.”

I am a Cheesehead. I love the Green Bay Packers.

That’s all I want to write about tonight.

Now, I’ll begrudgingly put the food away. Scoop up a casserole for my husband’s lunch, and pack it away so I can sleep in past 5am, a day I have already call-in sick. Hopefully my voice will return and I will be able to breathe by tomorrow night. Hopefully by tomorrow night, I’ll be in the mood to write.

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Fiction: Veronica

She looked in the mirror, again, examining the little lines around her eyes. “Those didn’t used to be there,” she thought. Age, such a condition of time. “How the kids keep getting younger, and today I look closer to 40 than 30.” She stretched her arms out in front of her. Still trim, but the skin was getting a little looser. “No, definitely not 20 anymore.”

How many grandparents had she put in nursing homes? Four. The hardest was her maternal grandmother. Her own mother was only 57, still a long ways off. She used to have a theory that those who continued with their routines were exempt from Alzheimer’s. Than her farm-living maternal grandparents got dementia. Blew that theory to shreds with one phone call. It only took six months for each, paternal and maternal, grandfather to die once put in the home. It didn’t matter how nice it was – they weren’t home, they were facilities. Her grandmothers faired better, but it wasn’t living.

She wondered, again, why religion and society looked down so much on euthanasia. She chuckled how her own thoughts have done a 180 on that topic. To think, when she was in high school, she had a passionate piece describing the point of cherishing life – always for abortion, because you never know who’ll need it, but against euthanasia. At least more states have changed their minds about mercy killing. It is all choice, isn’t it? Who has the right to choose – the person or the government?

“Well, enough oggling over how I’ve aged,” thought Veronica. Today she had plans to work more with the farm-to-school programs. The local Farm-HUB proved too expensive for most, and she preferred the direct connections and conversations. Getting others to network had always been a secret passion of hers. And, now, finally she was putting it into place. She lad to live in a place long enough to develop those connections, and once she learned that, the rest was easy.

The “People, Places, Profit” slogan had been used so often, that it was now second nature to most. Sustainability was little more than a question, although the Amazon Burn was a big wake up call for the whole world. She was only 16 when it happened – a formative teen. That was certainly a turning point in her life, from a suburban kid to an “activist.” It wasn’t so surprising, when you thought about how socially liberal her parents were, even if it was a quiet liberalness.

Time to walk the half mile to the Mag Train.

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Girls & Alllergies

Allergies, asthma, and immunicology – a fascinating thing, which strikes me more as I deal with my own allergy autoimmune issues. And, now there is are a series of gender studies that suggest girls are more prone to these issues later in life. NPR reported yesterday on our socialization and how it affects sanitization.

Disease prevention increased with the simple introduction of hand washing. But, now, we are faced with considering that our world is too clean. Cities used to be too dirty, and now they might be too clean (save for vehicle and industrial pollution). It’s an interesting conundrum we face, as a society.

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Red Velvet Cake

Every month, at work, we have a staff meeting. At the staff meeting we celebrate the month’s birthdays.

This month hosts, of course, my birthday.

You may recall I like to make cakes, and my own cakes for my own special occasions. So, why would this year at this place be any different?

So, I made this “Red Velvet Cake” (aka Cocoa Fudge Cake) for work. Levi helped with the frosting. He had SOOO much fun helping, he got sad when I dropped him off at school – so I promised him we’d make another one when we got home. Hence the SECOND cake. 🙂

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”alexis22578″ id=”72157625840764021″]

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Lawyer Jokes

I  think I’ve heard this one before – certainly the punchline, but I was reminded tonight.

There was a lawyer, a doctor and a plumber fishing off a boat. They all fell in the water and a shark ate the doctor and the plumber but left the lawyer untouched. Can you guess why?

Professional courtesy.

Another, this one I heard while temping at a law firm. (I love lawyers by the way.)

Two alligators lived in a parking garage of a law firm. One was very small. The bigger alligator was concerned, so he asked the small alligator what he did. The small alligator stated, “Well, I wait, hiding under the cars. When a lawyer comes, I grab him by the ankles, shake the shit out of him, and eat him.”

The big alligator replied, “That’s your problem, when you shake the shit outtta him, there’s nothing left!”

A roommate from college (my MSU days) had a lawyer for a father. He told her this one.

This engineer-architect died. He went to hell. When he got there, the Devil was a little surprised. Usually, architects and engineers, on their own, were stand up citizens. So, if someone held the dual profession, what were they doing in hell? The Devil didn’t dwell too much, what is what may be.

About a month went by, and the architect-engineer asked the Devil for 30 minutes. The Devil granted him his request. On the day of the meeting, the architect-engineer proposed a plan. He reminded the Devil of his earthly skills in design and building. He gave the Devil a vision of tennis courts, a mansion, hot tubs, swimming pools – and even air conditioning.

The Devil paused, and said, “Why not? You have all the labor you need.”

Six months went by, and soon the construction was finished. True to the architect-engineers words – Hell had changed. It was a party every night!

One day, the phone rang.

The Devil: Hello?

Devil, it’s God.

The Devil: Oh, what can I do for you?

God: We seem to have a problem.

Devil: Oh?

God: Yes. You’re in breach of contract.

Devil: Oh?

God: We agreed on lava, fire, brimstone – not air conditioning!

Devil: Oh, well – what are you gonna do about it?

God: I’m going to sue you.

Devil: Oh, with what lawyers?

Plagiarized post of unknown sources – but I love jokes. So enjoy!

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Writing 2

Art !
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

39 posts for January. 15 more than my previous “high” month of September 2008, where I posted 24 posts. I have so many rambling thoughts that I want to explore throughout the day, that when I saw this “Post a Day” challenge, I thought it perfect motivation. It has been.

Now I am curious how these thoughts will change, ebb and flow over this year. I will likely end with more than 365 posts if I continue on this pattern of ensuring there is at least one post a day, because that’s the way I interpret this challenge. I might have to explore less social commentary and more fiction ideas to keep the creative juices, as they say, flowing. Once a week social commentary or the sporadic multi-week I’d generally do is fine, but daily – it gets a little trite. And, really, there isn’t that much going on that I care to comment on it daily.

I enjoy all these motivating tools created to help us write and continue to write. (Here’s the social commentary, I can’t help it!) We like to complain about our text messaging society and what it does to our grammar, so it’s refreshing to see so man advocates of writing.

The Daily Post at

The One a Day Project

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Double Smoked Bacon

A wood-burning pizza oven baking a pizza.
Look at this nice, controlled fire. I can handle this kind of fire. And, of any uncontrolled fire, I would prefer it to be in our modern oven. But, still scary. Image via Wikipedia

I am writing this at 8:00pm, January 30th, 2011.

“Man,” I thought, “That’s kind of a lot of smoke billowing out from under the teapot.”

The teapot is (nearly) always on the burner that also serves as our electrical stove‘s oven vent.

“That is a lot of smoke.” I am cooking bacon to go with our blueberry pancake dinner. It’s late. I read too long and chatted with my mom a little too long.

I open the oven door. Smoke billows out, but I don’t see anything. So, I close the oven door.

More smoke comes out from the vent. I remember it’s been a while since I last turned on the auto-clean.

I open both kitchen windows. I sort of giggle at our broken smoke alarm (still within, hopefully, it’s warranty period).

Then, I also reflect on last night’s meatloaf that seeped over the sides of the loaf pan. (Note to self, ix-nay the milk in that recipe.)

“Uh, Peter,” I call to my husband who is on the phone with his father. “Will you take a look at this?” I begin to sound panicked.

I open the oven door. Even more smoke billows out. I close it. Then, I see orange.

I shout at Levi to LEAVE the kitchen and go to the living room. Panic mode entering, more.

I open it for him, and now the entire bottom of the oven is caked in flames. I stand, agape, my jaw slack, in frightened awe.

“What do you do with a fire in the oven?” Peter asks his father. Peter repeats, “Smother it.”

I hear, close the oven door. “Right, no oxygen,” clicks my brain as the wheels begin to turn. I turn the oven off.

“Pour water on it,” suggests my husband.

“NO!” I shout!

“My dad says put a towel on it,” offers Peter.

I don’t respond, except by shaking my  head. I stand holding the door closed, as if the flames will leap from around. Suddenly thankful we have a modern stove. With insulation to accommodate the self-clean function. (You know, the function that allows the oven to reach (sometimes) upwards of 900 degrees, Fahrenheit.) Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember baking soda.

About a minute passes, the smoke from the vent decreases, there is no more orange gleaming. I wait. When the smoke continues to dwindle, I cautiously open the oven door – no flames.

But, oh, there is smoke. Everywhere, there is smoke. Mostly, of course, in the kitchen. So, I open more windows. I instruct Peter to open some, and help with the fans. I demand the doors remain open. That was a lot of smoke.

It’s now, about an hour later. The double-smoked bacon tastes pretty good. I wouldn’t recommend the cooking though: buy smoked bacon, heat oven to 425, ensure bottom is greasy, wait 7 minutes, let the fire do the work. No, I could definitely do with NOT repeating this adventure.

How to Put Out Kitchen Fires

When a fire starts in the kitchen, you need to act fast to keep the fire from getting out of control. But how you act depends on what kind of fire you have and where it is. Follow these instructions for putting out kitchen fires:

  • If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.
  • If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.
  • If you have a fire in a cooking pan, use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop the flames in a pot.
  • If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.
  • Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:
    • If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.
    • Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. Never use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse.
    • Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.
    • Use a fire extinguisher.
  • Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.
  • If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone out of the house and call 911! Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape route.

Read more:

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Diagram showing the hierarchy of needs based o...
Diagram showing the hierarchy of needs based on Abraham Maslow’s theories in the 1950s. Image via Wikipedia

Democracy Lab, the Co-Intelligence Institute, bottom-up planning, grassroots activism – this type of problem solving often begins with a premise that we need to figure out what we value and build upon that to figure out what we want to do. Sometimes, life can feel so big, so overwhelming, so locked-in – that we can feel we don’t have  a choice about how life works. I don’t believe this to be true. I believe that we need to talk to each other to figure out what we want together. Like going to a movie with your sibling or close friend: you figure out what collective mood you might be in and overlay that with the current movie-playing options. Maybe you scrap the whole thing and go to a video store instead! On a bigger scale, I think we need to have these conversations frequently so we can make active changes in our lives.

This is a recurring theme, thought process for me. I created this poll-daddy account a few years ago to do that. (On a side note, I’m struggling with getting the WP-Polls plug-in to work properly, so I thought I’d go back to Poll-Daddy, which is where I found this!) I don’t remember which version of my blog I originally posted this poll on, but I thought I’d give opportunity to add to the already 10 responses.

This poll is loosely based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.

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Chicken Curry with Toasted Peanuts

Curried chicken and toasted peanuts
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I enjoy making too much rice. I really enjoy turning it into a Walnut-Cheddar loaf.

I don’t have anymore walnuts. It is proving more difficult to order than I think it should be. So, unsure of the peanut-lemon-onionnutritional yeastcheddar cheese combination – I brain stormed curry.

  • Heat pan.
  • Add a few tablespoons toasted sesame oil, heat oil.
  • Add 1/2 onion, chopped, and a few cloves of minced garlic.
  • When browned, add a tablespoon of a spicy curry powder.
  • After a minute or two, toss in 1/2 cup of unsalted peanuts, toast lightly.
  • Add (fresh or frozen) corn and peas (1/2 cup to 2 cups each).
  • Add 4 cups chopped (cooked) chicken (preferably from Taylor-Made Farms, previously roasted with lemon pepper and garlic).
  • Add leftover rice (minimum 2 cups).
  • Serve, and enjoy.
Exploring the Taylor-Made Farm field.
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr
Looking at a baby chick at the Taylor-Made Farm.
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr
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