East of the Sun, West of the Moon


Road tripping

Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 10:22 pm

Greetings from St. Louis!

Note to self, a Honda Civic (two-door model) is not really suitable for a 5-6 hour road trip. We’ll manage, but for an upcoming trip to Colorado we’ll use the minivan, and too bad it’s got worse gas-mileage, it’s still better than any SUV we pass on the way there. 😉

The hotel room is good, nice view on the arch, with a balcony so you can listen to the city sounds from the 23rd floor level without being deafened by them.

While walking around yesterday evening looking for a place to eat, we walked into an artsy store and then found out that every first Friday of the month they had an art walk with a couple other stores/galleries in the area, which would otherwise close at 6. So after actually getting something to eat (at a fairly loud yuppie-attracting place, Mosaic, with good food) we walked around and visited a few of them, and I guess their art walk idea paid off for them because we bought a few items that appealed to us!

The internet connection is through Wayport, unfortunately no free wifi for us this time. Maybe next time. The laptop was misbehaving again so we almost lugged it here for nothing. Unplugging it and briefly taking out the battery seems to have triggered the harddisk into playing nice again, for now, but I don’t know how much longer this piece of hardware will be of any use to me/us. Pity, because I’ve only had it for about 6 months.

And on that note, we’re off to find out if the sushi place nearby will have a long queue or not. See you… Monday evening at the latest. 🙂



Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 12:04 am

This afternoon I dropped M off at the airport to go to Chicago for a week for some company training, so it’s just the boys and me right now. That’s probably the longest stretch of single-parenthood since I married her, but as I’ve taken charge in a lot of things around the house in the past 8 months or so I don’t expect it to be a problem, days will mostly be business as usual until around 6-7pm, where it’ll be more obvious she won’t be there in the evening. 😉

I suspect I’ll get a bit more geek-time in than usual!



Filed under: Family,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 1:59 am

Last weekend, after I had already moved most of the clocks forward, there was a fun thunderstorm and a (1.5 hour or so) power-outage in this neighbourhood. This made me sit down and think about how many clocks we have around the house:

  • Kitchen [2]: Stove (mechanical, no battery), microwave (no battery).
  • Diningroom [1]: Digital alarm-clock (no battery).
  • Livingroom [2]: VCR (with battery).
  • Master bedroom [2]: Alarm clock (no battery), DVD/radio alarm (with short-term battery).
  • A‘s bedroom [1]: Alarm clock (no battery).
  • N‘s bedroom [1]: Alarm clock (no battery).
  • Bathroom [1]: Alarm clock (no battery).
  • Home office [5]: Coffee machine (no battery), mini-microwave (no battery), a 3-in-1 set of clocks (with battery).
  • Wrist watches [2]: Two for the boys, us adults have started to rely on our cellphones for this.
  • Cell phones [2]: Right. These have the option to sync with the cell-tower but those towers don’t always sync very nicely themselves, there can be several minutes from one tower to another. As a result I typically turn that feature off in mine.
  • PDAs [2]: These sync with the PCs, see below.


  • Modern technology comes with a lot of fun, but it’s also a pain to adjust 19-20 clocks for daylightsaving twice a year.
  • One word: Power-outage (ok, maybe 2-ish words)
  • The kids have the nerve to complain that not all clocks are showing the same time at the same time!

Of course all of the (Linux and OS X running) servers and workstations are set up to sync using NTP and of course automatically do The Right Thing ™ every spring and fall so I can always rely on them.

I’m looking forward to the day that all these clocks automatically sync with a time-server. It doesn’t have to be some atomic clock in Colorado, since that doesn’t scale very well if you take your clocks to another continent, but I suppose it’s cheaper to implement than putting 802.11-something in them. 😉

What’s the damage in your house if the power goes out?


Laptop fun

Filed under: Family,OS X,Software — Erwin @ 4:04 pm

Now that I’ve gotten myself settled on the new laptop, typically having a desktop open with a setup created by Ubuntu and an additional desktop with a VNC session to the MacMini, I’ve finally gotten around to installing OSXvnc on her MacMini, so now she can enjoy the same thin client experience that I had been for a while now.

I’m sure the view of both of us sitting there, one 10″ laptop and one 15″ laptop while often also watching some previously recorded show on MythTV, could be considered fairly amusing, but so be it. It works for us, and we’re getting a bit more value out of the wifi network while we’re at it. 😉

Reminder to self: Set up a VNC password file for M so it can go directly there instead of prompting her for one in ugly old X11 style (Athena widget, if I’m not mistaken).


Hype and then some

Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 5:12 pm

Sudoku Easy Presented by Will Shortz Volume 1 : 100 Wordless Crossword PuzzlesYou know how I know that Sudoku is the latest and greatest in puzzling?


  • My parents sent us a Sudoku gameboard (with individual numbers, no need for a pencil) containing 100 puzzles.
  • N (9 years old) got a Sudoku booklet from his teacher (as a Christmas gift) with 200 puzzles.
  • My in-laws gave me Will Shortz‘ Sudoku puzzle book with 100 puzzles..

So if I didn’t already know that it was the biggest thing in puzzles recently, I do now. What amuses me the most is that my parents beat the crowd, though. 😉


The inevitable

Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 3:34 am

This was the part of kids-having-pets I was least looking forward to, so to speak.

Tonight around 9pm N‘s pet rat died. She had not touched any of this morning’s food and was moving unusually little all day. We had assured the boys that if she had not improved any by morning we would take her to the vet and find out what’s up, but now that won’t be necessary anymore, unfortunately.

It was N‘s first pet, so he’s not taking it so well. Sure, other pets have died but those belonged to grandparents (for instance) and that’s not quite the same. Hopefully he’ll feel a little better in the morning. 🙁


Overheard at home

Filed under: Family,Humo(u)r — Erwin @ 3:14 pm

In the car with the kids on the way to dropping them off to school, listening to CD music…

A: Is that Dutch?
Me: No, that’s Bruce Springsteen, he’s singing in English.

I’ve got one CD by a Dutch artist (who also happens to sing in Dutch) in the car and A seems to insist on asking with every other song on the other CDs (5 of them) if they’re Dutch too. I might be willing to cut him some slack when he asks this for, say, Midnight Oil, with their Australian accent, but not Bruce.

You’d think he would recognize his native tongue! 🙂

Too noisy

Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 2:17 pm

It’s a pity, but Overheard In New York is actually too noisy. If for some reason I don’t get around to catching up on it for a few days, it’s like instantly there are 100 new entries and that becomes a bit overwhelming to wade through, unlike some of the other noisy news/topic feeds where I have absolutely no qualms to just hit command-K and move on, as a lot of what is said there will show up elsewhere or already has, by then.

I wish I had more time to read all of the entries in all of the feeds that interest me, but then I’d have to either sacrifice the time I want to dedicate to work (yeah, right) or need to dedicate to keeping this house and the people that live in it sane and a few other hobbies, like this blog, a few other websites, IgorMUD, and easily a dozen other projects.

It’s starting to look more and more like I’m a homemaker of sorts, but at the same time I have a full job and a guilty conscience everytime I walk away from the computer to do something around the house. I don’t want to quit either one of these things, though.

What to do, what to do?



Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 7:57 pm

When N (the oldest kid, now 9) got a pet-rat for his 8th birthday, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. Over time I’ve gotten used to the idea though, which is probably a good thing since I see more of the rat throughout the day than anyone else living in this house.

Of course, since N got a pet, A more or less expected to get one for his 8th birthday as well. Crossing out most other options for practical reasons (maintenance, allergies, all that sort of fun) we decided that a second rat would be the most likely option.

Now, ignoring that two days before his birthday a friend of the family more or less hijacked our gift-idea and we had to make a last minute run to the store to find him a suitable gift from us, that means that as of a few days ago we now have two rats in this household, and I can’t poison them!

Unfortunately it would appear that in his enthusiasm A has completely forgotten what he’s learned in the past yar and a half about the treatment (gentle, you know) of pets, especially ones that are much much smaller than himself, so we’re currently faced with hitting the brakes fairly hard to bring him back down to earth when he’s swinging them around or otherwise treating them like ordinary toys. Hopefully that’ll be sooner rather than later, or someone (him or one of the rats) is going to get hurt.

Here’s hoping…


Uh oh

Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 7:15 pm

Received the first christmas card of the season. Zikes. We haven’t even begun with ours!

Thanks, Annie!

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