Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goals for the 2011-2012 School Year

Last year I wrote up some goals for myself, and gave a progress report midway through the year. Time to do both again.

Goals from 2010-2011:

Become a better guitar player
Was going great, recently not so much. I've really not played much in the last couple months, just haven't felt like devoting time to it. Yesterday I picked up my acoustic for the first time in a few weeks and was surprised how poor my muscle memory was. Each time it comes back quickly, though. That's a plus.

That said, I have made progress. At some point barre chords became not-scary anymore, and transposing on the fly has become easier.

Produce at least one short film project
Check. The Vacationers, a short about suicide, (think It's a Wonderful Life, but darker) is almost picture-locked, down to final tweaks. Also gearing up to shoot Paperclip, a Nancy-Drew-combined-with-Hitchcock style short that I wrote. Casting for that in September and shooting in October.

Record at least one song
Did not do it professionally, but recorded a couple just on my own. So I'm gonna count that.

Spend more time listening and less time talking
Yes. Honest assessment, I think I'm doing well. I can do better still. Certain people are hard to listen to - it's hard to care. That's my current struggle. Others I could listen all day and never grow weary. I seek to find a balance.

Pay off my student loans and obliterate my debt
Did not go as well as I'd hoped. Student loans are gone, but my credit card debt, while manageable, has taken until now to pay off. One more paycheck and I'll have that taken care of. Fortunately I've played the game well and paid no interest (except one month I goofed on one card and ended up paying about $10 interest. Oops). Of course, as soon as I have conquered that, homeowner's insurance is coming due, and that's $1500 I don't exactly have sitting in my wallet. Darn it!

Proactively listen for God’s Call in my life
Fail. Well, maybe that's too harsh. Actually yeah that's too harsh. My own standard is set too high. I have listened, I just heard different answers than for the questions I was asking, which is fine, I'm dealing with it. Slowly. I guess.

Read at least 1 book
Yes! I re-read Harry Potter 7 in the two weeks leading up to the HP7p2 movie so I'd be able to have intelligible conversations about it. I read a couple other books along the way, including the Tao of Pooh, which I adore.

Learn to relax
Better late than never. Great strides in the last two weeks on this one. Took a weekend all to myself, no work, and also a vacation, a few days during which I read absolutely no work emails, not even on my iPhone. This is a HUGE accomplishment for me, I'm such an email addict, it's bad, really. I also have vacations pending to Chicago in September, Los Angeles at the end of October, Washington D.C. in March/April, and at some point St Louis and Denver. And I do actually plan to follow through on every single one of those.

Be courageous, don't fear diving straight into a deep question
I've done decently. In my own mind I view myself as "that guy" who asks some of the hard questions. Again, with some friends much easier than others. I can always do better, but I don't think I did poorly.

Goals for 2011-2012

  • Play guitar more often, even when I don't "feel" like doing it

  • Learn basic chords on my banjo, even if I do not become an expert

  • Continue working toward my CD album

  • Finish post-production on The Vacationers, Paperclip, and start working again on Far Away

  • Read at least 1 more book

  • Let God start leading and stop trying to force it

  • Prioritize friends over work

  • Keep diving straight into deep questions

  • Explore the wonders of Netflix

  • Discern my calling to Los Angeles, and what I hope to accomplish

  • Be honest with myself

  • Become a more persuasive speaker

  • Eat healthier and exercise, even if it's "just" going on more walks

Friday, July 08, 2011

Legos, Deaths, and LOTR

When I was younger Dad and I played with Legos. And part of playing with Lego sets involves learning to follow assembly directions.

This skill is useful later in life, when, say, replacing a hard drive in your laptop. Which is what I did last week. My giant 250GB drive just wasn't as giant as it used to be, so I bought a 750GB replacement and found the take-apart guide for my computer. After re-assembly, the computer booted fine, but my fans were running continuously. Huh. That's not good. I think I broke something.

Googled, eventually brought my computer to First Tech, and Apple, and back to First Tech. Went home, tried reseating cables and sensors and stuff, still no-go. So Saturday morning I trucked over to FT again (4th time in two days); I know some of the techs from all the times I've brought machines in from work, and when I told them my story the night before one of them offered to check out the machine with me for free, if I couldn't fix it at home that night. That was a $60 diagnosis fee I didn't have to pay. And he also replaced one of my keys that had been smudged. It's the little things in life that can lift your day.

Long story short, he advised me to take Apple's offer and send my computer to Apple's repair depot, a $310 flat fee, and they fix everything. If FT were to do the repairs, parts alone were close to $1000 (because one of the hosed sensors was on the logic board).

Using the Apple Store app on my phone I made another Genius Bar appointment and meandered to the store. They took my machine, and from the sounds of it the repair depot is going to replace the logic board, another broken heat sensor, and the case. This is huge. A couple years ago my laptop took a tumble and got slightly dented; not terrible, but it's not pristine. I never looked into getting it fixed because the last time I tried (6 years ago with my first PowerBook) it was a $600 fix. Apparently Apple's policies have changed, and I might be getting back a sparkling, almost-new computer.

In the meantime I'm using a school machine and have my HD in an external enclosure. It's not ideal, but it works.

There's been too much death in my life recently, all within the last week:

- former teacher's wife, cancer
- friend's brother, killed in Afghanistan
- neighbor, cancer
- friend's mother, cancer

I have no particular thoughts on this, just felt a need to mention them.

In other news, this week my friend Jessie came over a couple nights and we watched the first two LOTR movies (compliments of Dadflix). I've never seen the second LOTR movie, at least not in full, so now I've officially been cultured (the third movie I've seen, at least in parts, a few times). It helped having someone to explain what was going on, too, since I've never read the books.

Lastly, yesterday I finally signed up for Netflix. I've been putting it off for a year, and it was finally time to take the plunge.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Force-decommissioning an Open Directory Replica and setting as Standalone

I made a whoopsies yesterday - in an attempt to "fix" my Open Directory, I broke it. (modified some of the XML in the OD's /Config settings in WGM).

Fortunately, the brokenness didn't replicate to my replicas. Here's how I fixed everything: (rebooting in between almost every step)

- promote a Replica (computer #2) to become a Master
- demote original Master (computer #1) to standalone
- set original Master (#1) as a Replica of my new Master (#2)
- promote #1 to Master
- restore OD from backup (
- demote #2 to standalone
- set #2 as replica of #1

Now those two machines are happy.

Oops, I have two other servers that used to be Replicas of #1. But I didn't destroy the OD Replica before doing all the above steps. Now when I try to set them as standalone in Server Admin, it goes through the motions, and even says that the server has been set up as standalone, but then the OD panel still reports the machine is an OD Replica. Gah!

Google helped. And looking at the slapconfig log. And a little bit of carelessness (aka, "it's already broke, I'm probably not gonna make it worse").

Here's what fixed the Replicas:

sudo slapconfig -destroyldapserver
sudo slapconfig -setstandalone

Then recreate the Replica in Server Admin like normal.

Unfortunate side-effect, hopefully it doesn't mean things are broken again: now nothing shows up in my OD Master's Replica Tree. (Replica Status reports all three Replicas are OK, though)

Lastly, although one of my Replicas does still show up in the Replica Status as OK, when I open WGM on that machine the users and groups are non-editable, same symptom that told me the OD was corrupt in the first place. So running the slapconfig commands was still necessary.